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Oklahoma amid coronavirus: Gov. Stitt announces three-phase plan to reopen Oklahoma, personal care businesses to resume operations Friday

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Personal care businesses in Oklahoma can reopen Friday, April 24, and many other public places will be allowed to reopen Friday, May 1, said Gov. Kevin Stitt in a press conference Wednesday.

Oklahoma’s plan to reopen the state has three phases, Stitt said. Hair and nail salons, pet groomers, spas and barber shops are among those that can open up this Friday for appointment-only as part of phase one, following “strict sanitation protocols” and maintaining distance between customers, not including those in cities with their own restrictions in place, Stitt said.

On May 1, restaurant dining rooms, movie theaters, sporting venues, gyms and places of worship can operate with diminished standing room occupancy, continuing social distancing and sanitation.

If hospitalizations and cases remain at a “manageable level” for two weeks, the state will move to Phase 2, according to the three-phase plan.

“We are making decisions for Oklahomans that are based on the data for our state,” Stitt said. “Our plan is a measured approach and we will continue to watch the data each day and … we will pull back if we see our cases spike or hospitalizations increase.”

Stitt said that Oklahoma’s COVID-19 hospitalizations have gone down significantly, and that the goals of his executive orders have therefore been reached.

On March 30, there were 560 COVID-19 patients in hospitals, and it has been declining since then, Stitt said, with 298 on Wednesday.

“Everything that we've done is to flatten this curve ... and Oklahoma has done a great job,” Stitt said.

Norman Mayor Breea Clark said the city’s current regulations will remain in place until April 30 despite the governor's decision.

Oklahoma House Minority Leader Emily Virgin, D-Norman, is urging Stitt to reconsider opening businesses up so soon, she said in a statement. His decision is being made out of fear rather than fact, she said.

“The Centers for Disease Control has issued clear guidelines on when states should begin reopening, and at this moment, Oklahoma does not meet those criteria,” Virgin said in the statement. “Since the beginning of this crisis, we have failed to administer proper testing or tracing that is needed to ensure Oklahoma meets the CDC guidelines. … We urge the governor to reconsider until better data is available.”

Jana Hayes is a senior reporter on The Daily's news desk. She is a journalism senior and has worked at The Daily since her freshman year, having held several reporter and editor positions on both the news and enterprise desks.

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