DEATHS

Ira Lee Boss, 100

Born December 28, 1919

Died April 6, 2020

Mary Kathryn Kirby, 66

Born December 9, 1953

Died April 6, 2020

Anthony Earl Patrick, 90

Born January 8, 1930

Died April 6, 2020

James Robert "Jim" McPherson, 82

Born August 20, 1937

Died April 3, 2020

Herbert Smith Jr., 74

Born April 26, 1945

Died April 3, 2020

Leland Patrick Smith, 69

Born October 5, 1950

Died April 2, 2020

Joyce Marie Springfield, 84

Born March 5, 1936

Died April 1, 2020

Laurel Ann Huggins Andrews, 83

Born December 2, 1936

Died March 30, 2020

Viola Sanders, 88

Born July 2, 1931

Died March 29, 2020

Melvin Dean Gloden Sr., 85

Born February 16, 1935

Died March 29, 2020

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Tuesday, March 24, 2020, 4:50 PM

Because Muskogee County has had a confirmed case of COVID-19, Gov. Kevin Stitt has ordered all non-essential businesses to close down tomorrow and stay closed for 21 days to fight the spread of the virus.

The governor’s announcement was almost bereft of details about what businesses are considered “essential,” and provided no promise of any reimbursement to those businesses for the lost revenue of being closed for 21 days. He also did not address what would happen to employees who lose their jobs because of the forced closure.

Several types of businesses were specifically ordered to close:

  • hair salons
  • gyms
  • theaters
  • massage parlors
  • tattoo parlors
  • museums

Restaurants may stay open, but must close their dine-in areas, offering only curbside pickup or delivery.

Stitt said businesses must come into compliance by midnight tonight, but offered no details on how the order would be enforced, what penalties might be incurred for noncompliance or even what businesses other than those listed should close.

The list of essential infrastructure businesses linked by the governor include the chemical sector, commercial facilities, communications, critical manufacturing, dams, defense industry, emergency services, energy, financial services, food and agriculture, government facilities, healthcare and public health, information technology, nuclear reactors, materials and waste, transportation systems and water and wastewater.

However, grocery stores and pharmacies are also considered “essential” but do not fit in that list.

Muskogee Sheriff awaits legal opinion on enforcement

Muskogee County Sheriff Terry Freeman said his office has no plans to enforce any business closures.

“We are about protecting our people’s constitutional rights,” Undersheriff Michael Mahan said. “We aren’t planning to force any businesses to close.”

Muskogee police have not yet responded to a request for comment.

CLARIFICATION: Mahan clarified his statement: “Until there is further guidance from the governor’s office and the district attorney as to what criminal law is being violated, we have no legal authority to shut down any business.”

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