Thousands of Oklahomans remain out of work as the state enters its first full week of statewide business restrictions. However, Oklahoma's list of exempted business is the most extensive of states in the region.
Six surrounding states including Louisiana, New Mexico, Colorado, Kansas, Texas and Missouri have closed non-essential businesses. Arkansas does not have a statewide order.
Gov. Kevin Stitt’s “safer at home” order mandates adults over the age of 65, and those with serious health conditions stay in their homes, while closing businesses the state deems non-essential. It does not require healthy, younger people stay home as other “shelter in place” orders do in other states, as long as they gather is groups of less than 10.
Texas, Louisiana and Missouri simply adopted the U.S. Department of Homeland Security list of “essential critical infrastructure workers.”
Stitt’s list of essential businesses includes those exemptions recommended by the federal government but also goes further.
Oklahoma is the only state in the region to allow “maid and housekeeping services” to operate, while all seven are keeping dry cleaners open.
Auto mechanics and parts stores are still open across the region. However, Oklahoma is the only one to allow car dealerships to sell face-to-face.
It is also and the only one that lists sporting goods stores as essential.
Only Arizona and Oklahoma have golf courses written into the list of exemptions.
Pet stores remain open across the region.
“All non-essential businesses will need to alter their operations temporarily suspend services that require social gatherings until April 30,” Stitt said.
Oklahoma’s statewide order took effect Thursday, more than a week and a half after the first order took effect in Louisiana.
Many cities across the state have enacted stricter guidelines. The state attorney general’s office said people should follow local orders first.