Norman Mayor Breea Clark has issued a 21-day "stay at home" order for the city that will go into effect midnight Wednesday and will close non-essential businesses' in-person operations.
The order, which expires April 14 at midnight, asks that Norman residents only leave their homes if they need to complete "essential activities". Some “essential businesses" will be allowed to stay open while the 21-day order is in effect.
"We need you to take this seriously,” Clark said during a Tuesday press conference.
The order comes just hours after Cleveland County reported its first COVID-19-related death. Clark confirmed Tuesday that a woman in her 60s with no underlying health conditions has died. The county also has 22 positive cases of the virus.
"We will get through this,” Clark said during Tuesday's press conference, emphasizing that social distancing measures are necessary to prevent further COVID-19 spread in the city.
As Norman prepares to stay at home, here's the answers we have so far about what Clark's order will mean for Norman residents and businesses:
When will this order end?
The stay at home order becomes effective at midnight Wednesday, and will last until midnight on April 14.
The timeline of Norman's order matches Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt's "safer at home" policy, which will close all non-essential businesses in 19 Oklahoma counties for at least 21 days beginning midnight Wednesday.
Can I still leave my house?
Norman residents can leave their homes or places of shelter for some "essential activities," which include:
- Grocery shopping, picking up food from restaurants that are offering carryout or delivery, delivering meals to others in need, or shopping for any supplies needed to work from home.
- Doing any activities or tasks necessary to residents' health and safety, or the health and safety of their close friends and family. This would include going to the doctor or picking up medications or medical supplies.
- Participating in outdoor exercise like walking, running, hiking or biking (which is allowed as long as participants are engaging in social distancing)
- Going to work at an essential business
- Caring for family, friends or pets that live in another residence
“This is not a lockdown, this is not martial law — this is encouraging people to social distance by staying at home and not going out unless you have to," Clark said during Tuesday's press conference.
What's an "essential business"?
According to the city's website, essential businesses include:
- Healthcare operations and infrastructure
- Grocery stores, farmers’ markets, farm and produce stands, markets, food banks, convenience stores, liquor stores and businesses that sell food, drinks, pet supplies, fresh meats, fish, and poultry or household items like cleaning and personal care supplies.
- Businesses that ship or deliver groceries, food, goods or services directly to residences
- Restaurants, and any facility that serves food and drink. These businesses or services can only provide food for for delivery or carry out.
- Businesses related to food cultivation, including farming, livestock, and fishing. Human and animal food processing facility workers are considered essential.
- Businesses that provide food, shelter and social services to economically disadvantaged or otherwise needy populations
- Newspapers, television, radio and other media services
- Gas stations and auto-supply, auto-repair or related facilities
- Banks and financial institutions
- Hardware stores and stores that sell home appliances or related equipment
- Telecommunication and device retailers
- Plumbers, electricians, exterminators, and other service providers who provide safety and sanitation services
- Mailing and shipping businesses, including those that offer post office boxes
- Laundromats, dry cleaners and laundry service providers
- Railroads, rail systems and public transportation
- Businesses that supply products people need to work from home
- Businesses that supply other essential businesses with support or supplies necessary to operate
- Airlines, taxis and other private transportation providers providing transportation necessary for essential activities, along with transportation maintenance services like mechanics who are necessary to keep transportation services running.
- Home-based care for seniors, adults or children
- Residential facilities and shelters for seniors, adults and children
- Professional services like legal or accounting services that are needed to help with legally mandated activities
- Childcare facilities that provide services to essential employees. According to the city, childcare facilities should run under these guidelines:
- Childcare should be carried out in groups of 10 or fewer children that are in the same group every day
- Facilities caring for more than one group of children should place the groups in separate rooms and not mix them
Norman Chamber of Commerce president Scott Martin also spoke during the press conference, emphasizing that Norman residents should continue to try to support local businesses by any means available (especially through using delivery or carryout services when possible).
“Norman is open for business, it’s just that business will be operating a little differently the next few weeks," Martin said. "…Businesses aren’t a building or a website or anything like that — they’re the people.”
What if my business isn't essential?
Non-essential businesses cannot continue in-person operations, but can keep running to the extent that employees are able to work from home.
Will I have to prove that my business is essential to stay open?
No papers or proof are necessary for essential businesses to keep operating. City manager Darrel Pyle said Tuesday that the Norman Police Department will not be stopping employees or asking people to prove that they are essential employees who work at an essential business.
Where can I find more answers about this order?
The city has posted the order to its site. NPD has asked that residents not contact the department (especially via 911) with questions about the order, but refer to the city's site.