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Oklahoma businesses reopening as COVID-19 restrictions ease

April 25, 2020 GMT
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Jessy Gage, left, cuts Rick Rutledge's hair while working at Elephant in the Room barber shop in the Broken Arrow suburb of Tulsa, Okla., Friday, April 24, 2020. Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt lifted shelter-in-place orders statewide for select businesses such as nail and hair salons and barber shops. (Ian Maule/Tulsa World via AP)
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Jessy Gage, left, cuts Rick Rutledge's hair while working at Elephant in the Room barber shop in the Broken Arrow suburb of Tulsa, Okla., Friday, April 24, 2020. Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt lifted shelter-in-place orders statewide for select businesses such as nail and hair salons and barber shops. (Ian Maule/Tulsa World via AP)

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Some businesses are reopening in parts of Oklahoma after Gov. Kevin Stitt eased restrictions put in place because of the coronavirus pandemic.

On Friday, salons, spas and barbershops were allowed to reopen in much of the state, despite concerns from medical professionals. Those businesses have been told to adhere to social distancing standards, have employees wear masks and frequently sanitize equipment.

The Oklahoma State Department of Health said Saturday there were about 3,200 positive cases of COVID-19 in the state and that six more people have died, bringing the total number of deaths to 194. The number of infections, though, is thought to be far higher because many people have not been tested and studies suggest people can be infected with the virus without feeling sick.

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Some of the state’s largest cities, including Norman, Oklahoma City and Tulsa, decided to keep their bans in place until at least the end of the month, while other municipalities that had bans in place lifted them to align with the governor’s authorization.

The mayors of Tulsa and Oklahoma City announced they would lift their stay-at-home orders next Friday, when Stitt, a Republican, has said that restaurants, movie theaters, gyms and places of worship can reopen.

Teri Stevens, owner of The Barber Shop in the Tulsa suburb of Broken Arrow, told the Tulsa World on Friday that she was back at work cutting hair. She said her face was hot from wearing a mask and the atmosphere was “a little weird” because there’s usually “a little more camaraderie and people being out in the waiting area and everybody talking and socializing.”

But Stevens said it was good to be back to work.

For most people, the coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough that clear up in two to three weeks. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia.