Governor Kevin Stitt presented a press conference on March 24 to inform the public about the current situation regrading the coronavirus and how Oklahoma is dealing with it.
“We remain committed to making decisions based on reliable data, emerging science and the advice of experts from my Governor’s Solution Task Force, the State Department of Health and the CDC on how to best slow the spread of COVID-19,” said Stitt. “These new action items will allow us to ensure we remain proactive in our response to this on-going crisis. We will continue to take the necessary precautions and steps in order to prioritize the health and safety of all 4 million Oklahomans.”
Stitt issued a “Safer at Home” order for the state of Oklahoma. This limits gatherings of 10 or more, prohibits visitations to nursing homes and long-term care facilities, postpones all elective surgeries, minor medical procedures and non-emergency dental procedures until April 7. This also encourages adults of 65 and over or individuals with underlying medical conditions to stay at home if at all possible, only going out when absolutely necessary.
During this time, Tahlequah restaurant owners are working to adapt so that they can continue serving the community. Local restaurants have started serving their customers curbside. Patrons can come to the restaurant and order from the street or call ahead and have their food delivered to them while they stay in their vehicle. Many restaurants are also offering delivery services.
“It’s not more difficult, just an adjustment,” said Amanda Gammill, co-owner of RiverHawk Nutrition. “We are still seeing our loyal customers that have this as a part of their routine. We’re not necessarily worried, we just want to make sure we are helping as many people as possible.”
With Governor Stitt’s order in place, only essential businesses like grocery stores and restaurants are open. Local business owners are trying to help each other out during this time. Sarah Cookson, co-owner of Lift Coffee Bar is offering discounts for patrons who bring in a same day receipt from another local business. Cookson is also offering a 20% discount for medical workers.
“Everybody at this moment has to keep their spirits up,” said Cookson. “Medical workers are about to get swamped with a lot of things. These discounts are kind of the one nice thing we can do to encourage people. We have your back, we’re here, we’re doing what we can. As soon as we can get back up and running, we will, but it takes the community to help us do that.”
While some businesses are a little low on customers, they are not low on cheer. Boomarang waitress Kylie Hix was seen doing flips on the sidewalk near the restaurant in an attempt to draw in some customers.
“My daughter did a bunch of years of cheer with Tahlequah,” said Kristen Hughes, owner of Boomarang. “She just thought it would be funny to do flips down the road to try to draw attention to us. Her and another waitress are both seniors in high school and they went outside just being silly.”
While no one can really say how long this will last, local restaurant owners are hopeful this will all be over soon so they can get back to business as usual.
“From what I’ve seen everyone’s trying their hardest to avoid spreading anything,” said Hughes. “We’re all in this together. We’re taking the CDC’s instructions very seriously. We have a really supportive town. It’s sad that they shut down our boutiques, but when they can open back up, we’ll rally like we were before they shut them down.”
The Tahlequah Area Chamber of Commerce has a list of all restaurants and vendors that will be open while citizens are quarantining and practicing social distancing during Governor Stitt’s “Safer at Home” order. The list includes each restaurant’s hours of operation and what services they are offering, whether it is curbside, drive through, take out or delivery.
For more information, follow the following link to view the list: https://docs.google.com/document/d/e/2PACX-1vTle9pYLy4fMJKeMsHHU2MsJ9NXVh3F81yRz5L3DrV7ZPX5gCFj7aYSzcfbhcDxItGVVtirM7rXreps/pub