State of Emergency Declared by City, County

by Elizabeth Pitts-Hibbard

In response to Governor Kevin Stitt’s issuance of an Executive Order declaring a state of emergency in Oklahoma on Sunday night, local government entities are following suit. On Monday morning, Stephens County Board of Commissioners issued a similar proclamation and on Monday afternoon the City of Marlow did the same.

The Commissioners, meeting in executive session with elected officials and department heads from County offices, declared a State of Emergency for Stephens County and agreed to implement the following precautions:

1. Any employee exhibiting signs of illness are required to stay home until they are fever free, without medication, for a minimum period of 24 hours; and, if the employee is symptomatic of COVID-19, they are to be quarantined for a period of not less than 14 days;

2. Courthouse security is authorized to screen for illness, including taking temperature with a digital scanner;

3. As of the emergency meeting of the County Commissioners on Wednesday, the Stephens County Courthouse will be closed to the general public;

4. Employees with compromised immune systems are authorized to work from home;

5. All common areas within the courthouse will be sanitized in 30-minute intervals;

6. Events scheduled for the Stephens County Fairgrounds within the upcoming weeks will be cancelled;

7. That as much County business as possible be conducted by phone;

8. That payments and other business of the County offices be handled via mail or other delivery service;

9. The April 2020 jury docket has been postponed; and,

10. All employees are encouraged to practice “social distancing,” and to wash hands frequently.

The press release regarding the declaration and implementation, issued from District Attorney Jason Hicks, also noted that “this is a fluid situation and that more restrictive measures may need to be taken in the future.”

Stephens County residents who need to conduct business at County offices are encouraged to contact the office prior to going to the Stephens County courthouse in order to determine whether the business can be conducted without being there in person.

After meeting with members of the Marlow City Council on Monday afternoon, Mayor Brian Davis declared a State of Emergency for the City of Marlow and urged citizens to take precautions against spreading COVID-19 virus.

The declaration also closed some City facilities and canceled some events and meetings. The Marlow Community Center, Garland Smith Public Library, and Redbud Chapel will all be closed until at least April 12. The City is not closing the parks at this time; however, park gatherings and use of the lake should be limited. Planning Commission meetings are canceled during this period, but Marlow City Council and Marlow Municipal Authority will meet as usual. Municipal Court dockets will continue.

The statement issued by the City of Marlow said that “the City strongly encourages the cancellation of all in-person gatherings. Restaurants, bars and similar facilities are encouraged to limit the number of patrons allowed inside and to pursue take-out or delivery options. Gym facilities are also encouraged to discontinue group activities.”

Mayor Brian Davis added, “Despite the disruption to local businesses and residents, the spread of COVID-19 is a serious public health emergency. Taking aggressive measures now to minimize the spread of this virus is paramount to protecting the lives of all members of our community. The City will continue to monitor developments as this situation evolves and core services will remain open to serve citizens.”

All core City services will remain operational and all City employees will report to work as scheduled.