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Coronavirus in Oklahoma: What businesses are essential?

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Dozens of private businesses and public spaces will be able to remain open despite Gov. Kevin Stitt on Tuesday ordering the closure of all "nonessential" businesses in counties with confirmed cases of COVID-19 by the end of the day Wednesday. 

The vast majority of Oklahoma businesses won't have to temporarily close under more detailed guidance Stitt issued Wednesday. 

In an executive memorandum, Stitt defined "essential" liberally, leaving the door open for many businesses to remain open during the 21-day closure period the governor mandated to mitigate the spread of coronavirus. 

For a broad look at what industries are deemed critical at this unusual point in time, Stitt pointed to federal guidance from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security that highlights 16 essential infrastructure sectors. 

Workers in the following fields are among those deemed essential by the federal government: Health care, pharmaceuticals, energy, food supply, law enforcement, telecommunications, public works and information technology systems. 

What businesses are considered essential?

Specifically in Oklahoma, Stitt's memo clarifies that the following fields are deemed essential:

Health care
• Health care providers, such as doctors, dentists, nurses, pharmacists, social workers, physical and occupational therapists and assistants
• Behavioral health workers that help people in need of mental health/substance use disorder services
• Workers at veterinary hospitals and clinics
• Medical marijuana dispensaries and medical marijuana companies that help stock dispensaries
• Manufacturers, technicians, logistics and warehouse operators and distributors of personal care/hygiene products
• Family care providers and workers who provide support for vulnerable populations

Public Safety
• Law enforcement, Emergency Management Systems, firefighters, Department of Corrections workers and search and rescue and tactical teams
• Private security, fire departments and emergency medical personnel
• Animal control officers
• State and county workers responding to reports of abuse or neglect of children, elders and dependent adults
• Employees at emergency call centers

Transportation
• Taxis, Uber, Lyft
• Postal service
• Delivery services

Other
• Hotels
• Grocery stores
• Pharmacies
• Gas stations
• Public and private golf courses
• Public parks
• Convenience stores
• Hardware stores, farm stores and garden centers
• Liquor stores
• Tag agencies
• Courts
• Executive, legislative services and other government support
• Faith-based services provided through streaming or other technology services
• Critical government workers as defined by their employer
• Construction workers
• Workers at public and private childcare facilities, pre-kindergarten facilities, K-12 schools, colleges and universities for the purposes of distance learning, providing meals to students or supervision of minors
• Plumbers, electricians and exterminators
• Workers that do home repairs
• Dry cleaning and laundry services
• Death/funeral services
• Many energy workers in the wind, coal, solar, natural gas and petroleum fields
• Farmers markets, greenhouses, vineyards, nurseries
• Agriculture, forestry, fishing and hunting
• Financial institutions, such as banks and credit unions

Click here for a full list of all businesses and industries the state considers to be essential.

What businesses are considered nonessential?

According to Stitt's office, nonessential businesses include but are not limited to the following:

• Bars
• Gyms
• Movie theaters
• Salons
• Tattoo parlors
• Restaurants will be limited to take out or delivery food and beverage options 

Do you think a certain business should be classified as essential? 
Stitt's office launched a website specifically for that purpose. Business owners can fill out a form on criticalworker.ok.gov to apply to be classified as "essential." 

In which counties does this order apply?

Stitt's order will initially apply to the 27 counties that have confirmed cases of COVID-19. 

The order will expand to include any new counties that report positive cases of COVID-19, Stitt said. Nonessential businesses in the affected counties will have to remain closed through April 15. 

The mandate currently applies to the following counties:

• Adair
• Bryan
• Canadian
• Carter
• Cleveland
• Creek
• Custer
• Deleware
• Garvin
• Grady
• Jackson
• Kay
• Logan
• Mayes
• McClain
• Muskogee
• Noble
• Oklahoma
• Osage
• Pawnee
• Payne
• Pontotoc
• Pottawatomie
• Stephens
• Tulsa
• Wagoner
• Washington


Related Photos
Okie Kush Club and Ziggyz are pictured in the same strip mall, 825 SW 19th St., in Moore, Okla.,  Tuesday, July 2, 2019. [Sarah Phipps/The Oklahoman]

Okie Kush Club and Ziggyz are pictured in the same strip mall, 825 SW 19th St., in Moore, Okla., Tuesday, July 2, 2019. [Sarah Phipps/The Oklahoman]

<figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-eb51757d60720dab1eb13d6c782a5362.jpg" alt="Photo - Okie Kush Club and Ziggyz are pictured in the same strip mall, 825 SW 19th St., in Moore, Okla., Tuesday, July 2, 2019. [Sarah Phipps/The Oklahoman]" title="Okie Kush Club and Ziggyz are pictured in the same strip mall, 825 SW 19th St., in Moore, Okla., Tuesday, July 2, 2019. [Sarah Phipps/The Oklahoman]"><figcaption>Okie Kush Club and Ziggyz are pictured in the same strip mall, 825 SW 19th St., in Moore, Okla., Tuesday, July 2, 2019. [Sarah Phipps/The Oklahoman]</figcaption></figure>
Carmen Forman

Carmen Forman covers the state Capitol and governor's office for The Oklahoman. A Norman native and graduate of the University of Oklahoma, she previously covered state politics in Virginia and Arizona before returning to Oklahoma. Read more ›

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