New City Hall sign

Both City of Duncan and City of Marlow made the call to follow the executive order issued by Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt and will implement some restrictions in an effort to “flatten the curve” of the COVID-19 pandemic in Oklahoma.

Stephens County received its first positive case at 11 a.m. Wednesday from the Oklahoma State Department of Health. As a county touched by the virus, Stephens County nonessential businesses were ordered to close at 11:59 p.m. March 25 for 21 days. 

On Thursday, the state had a total of 248 confirmed cases. As the state mandates changed over the week, both City of Marlow and City of Duncan followed Stitt’s orders, which includes a “safer at home” directive for vulnerable populations until April 30, closing non-essential businesses through April 12 and restricting gatherings to no more than 10 people. Additionally, there’s no visitation at nursing homes or long care facilities and restaurants are only allowed to serve curb side, pick up or delivery as no dine-ins are allowed at this time. Elective surgeries or minor procedures or non-emergency procedures have been put on hold for 14 days and those who are sick or who have been around someone sick are to stay home and isolate themselves.

A memo put out by the City of Duncan on the evening of Wednesday, March 25 reads “individuals are to stay home … however, individuals may leave their residences for essential travel, essential activities, or to provide or perform essential governmental functions, or to operate essential businesses. This includes traveling to work at an essential business, traveling for the health of yourself or another person, leaving to get food and supplies, or getting outside to exercise.”

City of Duncan’s recommendation also included individuals are allowed to used shared or outdoor spaces, though social distancing, with a minimum of six feet between one person in the next, must be followed. Social distancing is not required when at home, the letter states.

The memo posted by City of Duncan also includes lists indicating what essential businesses are. Essential businesses may stay open but social distancing must be practiced. According to the release, essential businesses include:

• Health care services

• Essential government functions

• Essential critical infrastructure (as defined by the Department of Homeland Security)

• Essential retail - including grocery stores and restaurants for take-out only

• Providers of basic necessities to economically challenged populations

• Essential services to maintain operations of residences, such as plumbing, roofing and electrical services

• News media

• Financial institutions

• Childcare services for essential workers only

• Places that maintain live animals (closed to the public)

• Construction

• Funeral services (limited to 10 attendees)

• Worship services (closed to the public)

• Commercial and residential moving services

The City of Duncan also chose to close all city facilities effective at close of business Wednesday, March 25. City Hall employees will continue working in various capacities and city utility bills “are still due on their respective due dates.” Payments may be called in, made online, at the kiosk or placed in the drop box at City Hall. While utility disconnects have been temporarily suspended, the city states it will shut water off if surface sewage is reported.  

Additionally, City of Duncan states businesses that are closed to the public may continue operations consisting exclusively of the following, as long as social distancing of at least six feet is maintained between all employees and contractors during the activities:

• Performing activities at their own residences (i.e. working from home); 

• Operations necessary to process payroll, maintain security, upkeep, and maintenance of premises, equipment or inventory, including but not limited to the care and maintenance of livestock or animals; 

• IT or other operations that facilitate employees working from home; 

• Facilitate online or call-in sales performed by employees in a store or facility closed to the public;

• In-store repair services performed by employees in a store or facility closed to the public. 

Finally, City of Duncan states “all public or private gatherings of any number of people occurring outside a single household or living unit are prohibited” though “this does not prohibit the gathering of members of a household or living unit” and clarifies that “if someone in a household has tested positive for COVID-19, the household is ordered to isolate at home.”

In the northern part of Stephens County, Marlow Mayor Brian Davis said they’ve monitored the situation for weeks to try and keep citizens safe.

“Since declaring an emergency on March 16, we have all seen the continued spread of COVID-19, which the World Health Organization has called a pandemic,” Davis said. “We will continue efforts to slow the spread and ‘flatten the curve’ of this disease by following the executive order of the Governor of Oklahoma to protect the health, safety and welfare of all citizens of Marlow … The time to act is now to try to limit the potential long-term effects on the citizens of Marlow.”

That’s why businesses in Marlow shut down as of 12:01 a.m. going into Thursday, March 26. This will stay in effect until 11:59 p.m. Sunday, April 12, unless otherwise ordered.

This includes:

• Restaurants, food courts, cafes, coffee houses, and other places of public accommodation offering food and beverage are closed for dine-in customers and guests and for on premises consumption; and, if able, are restricted and limited to curbside, drive-thru, takeout, and delivery services. In no case shall the customer have direct access to any unwrapped items to include, but not limited to, buffet lines, soda or drink fountains, and self-service prepared food items. The following exclusions apply: institutional or in-house food cafeterias that serve residents, employees, and clients of businesses, child care facilities, and long-term care facilities.

• Gyms and exercise/workout facilities, dance and gymnastic studios, entertainment venues, and private clubs are prohibited from operating or opening to patrons during this time.

• Barber shops, beauty salons, nail salons, massage parlors, and tattoo parlors are prohibited from operation with the exception of taking singular appointments. During appointments, there shall be no walk-in traffic accepted, no waiting allowed, with the exception of one parent or guardian with one child. An establishment with multiple stations must adhere to social distancing of at least six feet, and follow the appointment guidelines per station.

• Social gatherings of more than 10 people are prohibited, by Order of the Governor. All establishments should take all necessary and reasonable steps to comply with the Order and protect employees, workers and patrons.

Before the amended executive order, Marlow City Hall closed to the public, along with other city buildings.

“All functions of the City of Marlow remain intact including fire and police protection, electric, water and sewer, cemetery, street and park maintenance, city hall, animal control, 911 dispatch and emergency management,” states a release from City of Marlow. “The Garland Smith Public Library is closed, but limited functions are available on the library’s Facebook page and once-per-week book pick-up on Thursdays.”

While some city buildings are closed or limited to the public, there are still ways to conduct business with the city. Utility payment options include via drive-thru at City Hall between 8:30 a.m. Monday through Friday, the drop box at City Hall which is checked twice daily on weekdays, online at www.cityofmarlow.com or by phone at 866-228-6746.

For more information about the City of Duncan, call 580-252-0250. For more information about the City of Marlow, call 580-658-5401. 

For further clarification on essential critical infrastructure workforce, visit https://www.cisa.gov/publication/guidance-essential-critical-infrastructure-workforce. Non-essential businesses can download a form from www.criticalworker.ok.gov to request consideration to be added as an essential business.

See updates and information from the Center for Disease Control at https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-nCoV/index.html.

Recommended for you