Free meals (copy)

An Owasso resident awaits a bag of complementary lunch from school officials outside OHS on Tuesday. The district is offering free meas to students amid the shutdown. ART HADDAWAY/Owasso Reporter

Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt on Tuesday, March 24, announced additional restrictions in cities such as Owasso to reduce the spread of COVID-19.

His amended executive order states that all non-essential businesses in the 19 counties with confirmed cases, including Tulsa County, will remain closed for 21 days.

The directive comes just four days after the City of Owasso placed its own restrictions on restaurants, bars and other establishments per an updated resolution passed on Friday. Stitt’s latest amendments overrule the language outlined in Owasso’s measure.

“I appreciate our governor taking the lead on this and giving the state some guidance,” said Owasso Mayor Chris Kelley said in a staff meeting on Tuesday.

The governor mandated the closure of all gyms, salons, massage parlors, movie theaters and other similar establishments that have close contact with customers, effective at midnight on March 25 through April 15. He encouraged restaurants to continue to provide curbside pickup and delivery services.

Additionally, the order issues a statewide “safer at home” order for adults over 65 and vulnerable individuals with serious underlying conditions and limits gatherings to no more than 10 people.

It also prohibits visitations to nursing homes and long-term care facilities, and postpones all elective surgeries as well as minor medical and non-emergency dental procedures until April 7.

Owasso City Manager Warren Lehr also backed Stitt in Tuesday’s meeting, echoing the requests of many Owasso citizens, primarily on social media, to enforce stronger measures community-wide.

“In general, it seems like the majority of comments are that we need to go further, quicker; we need to put more restrictions in place,” Lehr said, “and the governor has effectively superseded that.”

Kelley on Tuesday thanked local business owners for their continued patience during this hiatus, and encouraged them to comply with the governor’s actions.

“I appreciate the efforts you made up until this point; it’s not easy to do … and I understand that for some of you, this gets a lot more difficult,” Kelley said. “It’s a tough time; we’re all dealing with this, and we need to support each other.”

Owasso city officials said they will await further details from the governor about possible next steps to take following the action plan he announced on Tuesday.

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