Gov. Kevin Stitt’s gradual relaxation of rules on what businesses can operate in the state amid the COVID-19 pandemic take full effect in Tulsa on Friday.
Restaurants and movie theaters can reopen for indoor customers, although Stitt’s rules still require that people remain at least 6 feet apart and that wait staff wear appropriate face masks
A city ban on social gatherings of 10 or more remains in place until May 15, but the governor has relaxed restrictions on gyms, sporting venues and places of worship.
Stitt relaxed restrictions on personal care providers — including barber shops, spas and pet groomers — as of last Friday, but Mayor G.T. Bynum’s restrictions prevented those businesses from opening in Tulsa until the end of April.
Stitt’s rules prevent personal care businesses from having customers in waiting rooms. Instead, customers need to wait in their cars until they are called into the business.
Under Stitt’s rules, those who are elderly or have compromised immune systems still must stay in shelter until at least May 6.
It seemed clear to us that Stitt’s rules made it politically and practically impossible for Bynum to extend shelter orders in Tulsa. Although Bynum may have thought (with good reason) that it’s too early to reopen society locally, he couldn’t behave as if Tulsa was isolated from the rest of the state.
A lot of local businesses now face the same difficult choice. The fact that they legally can go back into limited public operations, doesn’t mean that it will feel safe to do so, and more than one business has made it clear that they won’t reopen. They don’t want the responsibility for exposing their employees and customers to the COVID-19 virus.
Of course, the issue ultimately comes down to individual consumers. People will remain secure at home until they feel safe going out, and no amount of governor’s orders will change that.
We urge everyone to be safe, not to go into public without face masks, to respect social distancing etiquette and not to take chances that put their health at risk.