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Oklahoma bars, restaurants get temporary curfew reprieve

December 19, 2020 GMT

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Oklahoma bars and restaurants have effectively won a temporary reprieve from a curfew that has been forcing them to close early since November to minimize the spread of the coronavirus.

A state judge sided with a group of bar owners Friday, granting them a 12-day stay on Republican Gov. Kevin Stitt’s order that bars and restaurants not serve food or alcohol on their premise after 11 p.m.

“It’s 12 days of freedom,” Daniel Capps, the owner of Redneck Yacht Club and a plaintiff in the case, told The Oklahoman. “It’s the 12 days of Christmas.”

Stitt said in a statement that he looks forward to a hearing on the issue and that his order “maintains the right balance between protecting public health and keeping businesses open safely.”

District Judge Susan Stallings said the stay only applied to the six plaintiffs in the case, according to The Oklahoman. But Keith Burt, the state’s director of the Alcoholic Beverage Laws Enforcement Commission, told the paper the agency would not enforce the curfew at any bars or restraints until there’s a hearing on the issue Dec. 30.

Also Friday, the state health department reported 251,760 total virus cases and 2,161 deaths since the pandemic began, increases of 3,556 cases and 17 more deaths than reported Thursday.

Health officials have completed delivering more than 33,000 initial doses of the coronavirus vaccine across the state, deputy state health commissioner Keith Reed said Friday. More than 2,200 people have been vaccinated with no significant side effects reported, he added.

“No, we’re not aware of anything so far that has fallen into those categories we were told to watch for and be concerned about,” such as allergic reactions to the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, Reed said.

There have been reports of apparent allergic reactions to the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine in two Alaska health workers.

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A total of 2,253 vaccine doses have been administered, the health department reported on its website Friday.

In Oklahoma, front-line health care workers are being vaccinated first, followed by long-term care providers and residents, paramedics, emergency medical technicians, and pharmacy staff who will administer the vaccine in long-term care facilities.