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Governor's Actions 3/24/20

Update March 24, 2020 | 2:00PM

Statewide:

  • Issued statewide Executive Order that:
    • Enforces “Safer at Home” order statewide, requesting elderly and individuals who are immunocompromised or have pre-existing condition to shelter in their homes, leaving only for essential needs like groceries or prescriptions, until April 30.
    • Closes non-essential businesses that are in Oklahoma counties with confirmed cases of COVID-19:
      • Businesses explicitly listed include: hair salons, gyms, theaters, massage parlors, tattoo parlors, museums, etc. 
      • Restaurants may remain open in these counties but must close their dine-in area, offering instead curbside pickup and delivery. 
      • Businesses must come into compliance by midnight March 25.
      • This would apply today to 19 counties, which are listed on www.coronavirus.health.ok.gov 
    • Suspends elective surgeries, minor medical procedures, and non-emergency dental procedures beginning March 25 for the next two weeks to preserve medical supplies and PPE for COVID-19 response.  
    • Prohibits gatherings of 10 or more individuals.
    • Restricts visitors at nursing homes, retirement or long-term care facilities.
  • Activated the Oklahoma National Guard Regional Training Institute where 19 members of the Guard have been mobilized to observe COVID-19 developments and be ready to take any necessary actions requested by the governor to help communities and hospitals. 
  • Formed the Governor’s Solution Task Force to provide comprehensive solutions for COVID-19 pandemic, from forward planning for statewide hospital capacity to innovation strategizing for economic impact.

COVID-19 testing:

  • Filed an executive order on March 22 to allow the labs at Oklahoma State University (OSU) and the University of Oklahoma (OU) to perform COVID-19 testing, which will increase State testing capacity 10x once the labs are fully online with resources. 
  • Directed Oklahoma State Department of Health (OSDH) to open 4 satellite locations to conduct testing of Oklahomans with symptoms of COVID-19, with locations in Oklahoma, Tulsa, Kay, Carter and Pittsburg Counties.
  • Entered into a public-private partnership with Diagnostic Laboratories of Oklahoma (DLO) as of March 20 to expand State’s capacity to deliver COVID-19 testing results. 
  • Implemented statewide reporting requirements to collect and create transparent data of hospitals’ bed capacity, equipment supplies, and COVID-19 testing capacity. Data will be published regularly in the coming days through the Oklahoma State Department of Health (OSDH).

Public Health and Health Care Providers:

  • Transformed the State’s 2-1-1 hotline into a tool for Oklahomans to call and receive screening public health support for COVID-19.
  • Suspended several regulations on telemedicine to ease capabilities for Oklahomans to receive medical support from a doctor without leaving home. 
  • Established expedited process for nurses with inactive licenses to get recertified. 
  • Temporarily extending licensing reciprocity for health care professionals, like doctors and nurses, who hold licenses to practice in other states. 
  • Suspended various regulations on truck drivers and commercial vehicles for transporting medical supplies and other critical items across state lines.
  • Waived extra cost for hospitals and healthcare entities to increase broadband, made possible due to FCC waiver. 

Workforce:

  • Received approval for State of Oklahoma’s request on March 17 for disaster loans for small businesses across all 77 counties who are affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Businesses and nonprofit groups can apply for up to $2 million in loans through the SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loan program. 
  • Deferred borrowers paying back SBA loans from previous disasters to December 31, 2020. 
  • Deferred state income tax payments until July 15 without late fees or interest
  • Suspended the one-week waiting period before unemployment benefits can be paid and waved the work-search requirement for unemployment benefits. 
  • Extended expiration dates for all occupational licenses issued by any State agency, board or commission during the Declared State of Emergency period. 
  • Established stronger guidelines for Child Care facilities to prevent and/or respond to a COVID-19 positive case.

State Government:

  • Declared a State of Emergency allowing State Agencies to access all needed resources to proactively and aggressively respond to COVID-19 and to protect the health and safety of the public.  
  • Implemented a telework policy for state employees and banned out-of-state business travel for employees 

Common Education – as directed by the State Superintendent, State Department of Education (SDE) Board:

  • Closed all accredited PreK-12thgrade public schools for students and educators until April 6, as directed by the State Superintendent and SDE Board.
  • Suspended academic assessmentsfor grades 3-8 or to high school juniors and suspended th Oklahoma School Report Cards for the 2019-2020 school year, as requested by the Oklahoma State Department of Education and approved by the U.S. Department of Education on March 20. 
  • Waived extra cost for schools and libraries to increase bandwidth, made possible due to FCC waiver. 

Public Safety:

  • Expiration on driver’s licenses issued by the State of Oklahoma are delayed until further notified. 
  • Temporary suspension of RealID compliance on driver’s license until further notified.
  • Suspension of visitations for State prison facilities and State juvenile secure-care treatment centers until further notified. 

Veterans:

  • Closed all 7 State Veteran Centers for visitors. All essential staff must be checked for COVID-19 symptoms before entering the building, with all non-essential ODVA staff instructed to telework. 

Housing/Utilities:

Consumer Protection: 

  • Put into statewide effective State’s price gouging statue, pursuant to action taken by the State Attorney General Mike Hunter
  • Activated consumer alert on at-home coronavirus testing, action taken by the State Attorney General Mike Hunter that reminds Oklahomans to be on high alert for scam artists trying to sell or administer home-testing kits for COVID-19.