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Bynum Declares Civil Emergency in City of Tulsa COVID-19 Response

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Tulsa Mayor G.T. Bynum on Monday declared a civil emergency in response to COVID-19.

It formalizes his directive that events with 50 or more people at city facilities or requiring a city permit be canceled.

Bynum is also taking several additional steps to limit the impact of COVID-19, including implementing a moratorium on water shutoffs.

"At a time when we’re asking Tulsans to stay home as much as they possibly can and to be washing their hands as frequently as they can, we don’t want them to have to worry about water service to their house," Bynum said.

Other steps include limiting municipal court access to defendants, attorneys and interpreters, and  implementing a remote-work policy for eligible employees. Bynum says three city employees — a police officer, firefighter, and a water and sewer worker — are under investigation for COVID-19 after possible exposure. Bynum said any employee exposed to COVID-19 will be covered by worker’s compensation.

Bynuym said he’s also aware other cities have limited restaurants to takeout orders and shut down bars to keep a lid on the spread of COVID-19 and has asked Tulsa Health Department Executive Director Dr. Bruce Dart to look into that issue.

"I sent to Dr. Dart a request that the board of health at the Tulsa Health Department meet and provide guidance on attendance at restaurants and bars in the City of Tulsa," Bynum said.

Several Tulsa-area attractions are closing indefinitely. Philbrook, Gilcrease Museum, Discovery Lab, Tulsa Zoo, Oklahoma Aquarium, indoor spaces at River Parks, Botanical Gardens, Historical Society, AHHA Tulsa, Woody Guthrie Museum, Tulsa Garden Center and the Gathering Place are all closed until further notice. River Parks trails at the Gathering Place remain open.

At the county level, Tulsa County District Court has suspended all civil, family, forceable entry and detainer, and probate dockets through March 27. All district court judges are being asked to use their discretion in granting continuances for reasons related to public health.

County facilities are open and operating at this time, with the exception of events or gatherings of more than 50 people. The public is asked to conduct business as much as possible by phone, email or mail.

In-person visitations to the Tulsa County Jail are shut down. Visitation must be done through video conferencing until further notice.

The Tulsa County Sheriff‘s auction on foreclosed properties has also been suspended until further notice.

Matt Trotter joined KWGS as a reporter in 2013. Before coming to Public Radio Tulsa, he was the investigative producer at KJRH. His freelance work has appeared in the Los Angeles Times and on MSNBC and CNN.
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