Muskogee business district

The Muskogee business district is likely to slow down after restrictions were issued March 24 in response to the spread of COVID-19 in the county and across Oklahoma. JOHN CLANTON/Tulsa World file

City officials in Muskogee issued restrictive orders Monday night to businesses prone to crowding in an effort to reduce the spread of COVID-19.

Muskogee city councilors voted Monday night to restrict restaurants, food courts, cafes, bars, taverns, clubs, gyms, theaters, museums and the like in response to the COVID-19 threat. The restrictions are effective at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday.

Muskogee this week joined a cadre of other towns and cities limiting the chances for people to congregate. State health officials confirmed during the weekend that Muskogee County had its first case of COVID-19.

As many others have, Muskogee city officials carved out exceptions for curbside, drive-thru, takeout and delivery services. 

City officials encouraged businesses not identified in the order to comply with guidelines to close doors.

Muskogee County commissioners have not yet taken such a step, though they have tightened access to county buildings, such as the courthouse. Muskogee District 1 Commissioner Ken Doke said they are trying to balance essential services and keeping county facilities safe.

Sapulpa city officials issued orders Monday night that closed many businesses to the public but carved out a different set of exceptions for accepting customers.

Businesses that serve alcohol and food can continue serving as long as owners restrict tables to no more than four people and tables are spaced at least 6 feet apart.

Sapulpa residents can still get tattooed, a massage, beard trim or hair styled so long as they have an appointment and the relevant business have 10 or fewer total people inside. Gyms and similar facilities have similar restrictions.

Entertainment venues, such as bingo halls, skating rinks, theaters and museums, were ordered closed.

Broken Arrow, Jenks, Coweta, Owasso, Stillwater and Sand Springs previously announced their own virus-related restrictions, and the Bixby City Council took similar action Monday night to restrict businesses as the virus continues to spread.

Stillwater city officials, likewise, took action around March 18 to start curtailing the spread of the virus. City officials there issued an emergency declaration that closed bars, restaurants and other public venues with exceptions carved out for carry-out orders and delivery orders. City events and meetings have been canceled and some city facilities closed.

This is a developing story. Check for updates.

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​Harrison Grimwood


Twitter: @grimwood_hmg

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