Duncan Mayor Ritchie Dennington

Duncan Mayor Ritchie Dennington

After declaring an emergency for the City of Duncan earlier this week, Mayor Ritchie Dennington provided a brief update on the City of Duncan and how administration is responding to COVID-19.

Dennington said with increased media coverage about the global spread of COVID-19 and recent conferences with President Donald J. Trump as well as Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt aired to the public, along with high profile entities like the NBA and NVAA canceling events, he wanted to let citizens know how they’re taking action to help “flatten the curve.”

“Our schools are temporarily closed. Grocery stores are busy beyond belief and restaurants are eerily empty,” Dennington said. “I would like to assure you that city leadership has been in frequent communications with state and county entities concerning any COVID-19. We have met with representatives from the Stephens County Health Department and Duncan Regional Hospital. City staff has been preparing plans and contingency plans to ensure uninterrupted essential services for our citizens.”

While all city department are maintaining and working “as normal as possible operations” some decisions, like closing the Duncan Public Library had to be made, Dennington said.

“This was done because of the large crowds of multi-generational visitors that are often at the library,” he said. “The library staff is still working to help customers use our online resources and are also offering curbside pick-up to get books to patrons.”

While other departments are open, Dennington encourages limiting in-person contact as much as possible.

“We are actively removing convenience fees to use our kiosk at 708 West Willow,” Dennington said. “Online bill pay for utilities is available, and we should have the capability to use online bill pay for municipal court next week.”

City council meetings will proceed as normal.

“The city council will still meet as scheduled, with our next meeting set for March 24,” he said. “We will televise the meeting as usual and give you any new COVID-19 updates that we have available.”

While in-person contact isn’t highly encouraged, Dennington said they haven’t put any restrictions or closures in place yet for city businesses.

“At this time, we have not placed any local restrictions on our restaurants and businesses,” he said. “We are following the state guidelines as they are announced. This may change if we have a local COVID-19 case or if the State sends stringent mandates. Many of our local businesses and restaurants are already offering curbside service, and encouraging drive-thru use and to-go ordering. We understand the impact this has on our area small businesses. Our Main Street, restaurants and businesses are essential parts of our community, and this is even truer during this unique, challenging time in our country. The safety of our citizens, preservation of our local businesses, and the safety of our staff will be at the forefront of our decision making.”

As the COVID-19 crisis continues, Dennington encouraged everyone to keep public health and safety at the forefront of their mind.

“I encourage everyone to stay vigilant and heed the advice of healthcare experts,” Dennington said. “Practice social distancing, wash your hands and keep yourselves and your loved ones safe as we move through this time together.  Please know that the City Council, City Manager, City Staff and I will proceed with care and keep you updated along the way.”

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