Kay County and city officials waiting for more information on Gov. Stitt’s executive order

March 24, 2020 | Headlines

KAY COUNTY — Governor Kevin Stitt announced today at a press conference that he will be issuing an executive order to close all non-essential business located in the counties affected by COVID-19  at 11:59 p.m. on Wednesday until April 14. Stitt is also restricting gatherings of 10 or more in the entire state.

Non-essential businesses are considered social gathering places such as bars, gyms, salons, museums, casinos, shopping malls, and bowling alleys.

Craig Stephenson, city manager of Ponca City, said the city is waiting for a copy of the executive order from the governor. “We have already closed non-essential city operations such as the Marland Mansion,” said Stephenson. “This is all new and there is no playbook.”

When asked what type a punishment a business would face if they did not follow the executive order and continued to operate. Stephenson did not know.

Ponca City police Capt. Randy Tyner said chief Don Bohon was meeting with city leaders to discuss the situation at hand. “This is all new and none of us have been through this before,” said Tyner. “There is no no pandemic rule book I can pull down and look.”

Sheriff Steve Kelley said he is seeking guidance from District Attorney Brian Hermanson.

“If there is a gathering of 10 or more people I would probably have my deputies go and use the speakers to ask the crowd to disperse,” said Kelley. “I’m not going to jail people.”

Newkirk City manager Jane Thomas said she is not sure what would remain open in Newkirk. “This is our first rodeo,” said Thomas. “Were just kind of in a holding pattern. I know the grocery store will remain open.”

Blackwell City Manager Janet Smith said she believes as a result of the governor’s order, the Top of Oklahoma Museum will close as will the Barn and Quilt business, and the bowling alley.  She said some businesses like a medical marijuana dispensary and lock smiths could fall in to a grey area.

To read a Memorandum on Identification of Essential Critical Infrastructure workers during COVID-19 Response click here.