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New COVID-19 Restrictions For Oklahoma City Bars, Restaurants and Churches

Oklahoma City Mayor David Holt (left) and Dr. Patrick McGough of the Oklahoma City-County Health Department (right) speak during a press conference on July 1, 2020.

Oklahoma City Mayor David Holt issued new restrictions ahead of the holiday weekend, in an effort to prevent another rise in cases.

In a press conference Wednesday, Holt said the restrictions are targeted based on the places the virus is spreading, according to Oklahoma County contact tracers. Specifically, they address restaurants, bars and venues with theater-style seating, such as churches.

The restrictions take effect Friday, July 3 and last for two weeks. They include the following:

  • Bars will reduce cpaacity to 50%, and all employees will be required to wear masks.
  • All employees in restaurants will be required to wear masks over their nose and mouth.
  • Any venue with theater-style seating, such as a church or event center, will need to leave every other row vacant and stagger attendees with at least two seats between parties.

Holt strongly encouraged people to wear masks in indoor facilities or when they are having conversations with others because the spread the county is documenting is between two people talking in close proximity.
Holt also said as emergency powers expire in July, it is time to adopt measures via the democratic process because the pandemic will be part of life for the foreseeable future. He has asked local government agencies and the Oklahoma City Council to convene in the next few weeks to consider ordinances and how they will be enforced or amended based on trends in the virus.

COVID-19 case counts in Oklahoma County are doubling compared to previous weeks, which is alarming public officials as they try to keep the economy open and hospital capacity available. The largest number of new cases is in the group of adults aged 18 to 49.

Rachel Hubbard serves as KOSU's executive director.
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