John Browne

McAlester mayor John Browne

McAlester city officials ordered closures and access restrictions to local businesses for 48 hours starting at 12:01 a.m. Saturday amid the coronavirus pandemic.

City Manager Pete Stasiak issued a civil emergency proclamation Friday ordering closures and restrictions on certain businesses in McAlester city limits for 48 hours starting at 12:01 a.m. Saturday. McAlester Mayor John Browne said the city called an emergency meeting for 8 a.m. Monday to discuss extending or abolishing the order.

"I'm sorry that it had to come to this but if doing so can save one life, we don't have any choice but to do it," Browne said.

"I want nothing more than our citizens to continue supporting the businesses in our community, but we have to put the health and safety of the public first at this time,” Stasiak said in a press release. “I commend the businesses and restaurants who have already implemented these actions out of concern for others. Unfortunately, we are beyond the level of volunteer actions and I feel this order is immediately necessary until the city council can take further action.”

The Oklahoma State Department of Health reported 49 coronavirus cases and one death statewide as of Friday with none in Pittsburg County. Pittsburg County Health Department officials said Friday there were no positive cases or investigations into presumptive cases.

After the World Health Organization declared a global coronavirus pandemic on March 11, President Donald Trump declared a national emergency on March 13.

Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt announced the state’s first positive coronavirus case on March 6 and issued a state of emergency on Sunday night.

Pittsburg County commissioners issued a disaster declaration Monday morning and the city of McAlester issued a disaster declaration Tuesday evening.

Friday's civil emergency proclamation orders the closing of "restaurants, food courts, cafes, coffeehouses, and other place of public accommodation offering food and beverage" to dine-in customers and guests. It also ordered on-premises consumption closed.

Food establishments are still allowed to offer curbside, drive-thru, takeout and delivery services under the order.

The order also closes:

• bars, taverns, brewpubs, breweries, microbreweries, distillers, wineries, tasting rooms, clubs, and other establishments selling intoxicating liquor or beer by the drink.

• hookah bars, cigar bars, and vaping lounges offering their products for on-premises consumption.

• theaters, cinemas, indoor and outdoor performance venues, and museums.

• gymnasiums, fitness centers, recreation centers, indoor sports facilities, indoor exercise facilities, exercise studios, and spas.

• amusement parks, arcades, bingo halls, bowling alleys, skating rinks, and other similar recreational or entertainment facilities.

The order does not prohibit personnel from entering, using or occupying those establishments.

Restrictions under the order also do not apply to places offering food and beverage not for on-premises consumption; facilities offering health care, child care, residential care, congregate care, occupational and physical therapy, and juvenile justice. Nor does the order apply to crisis centers, soup kitchens or similar institutions.

Contact Adrian O'Hanlon III at aohanlon@mcalesternews.com

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