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Stillwater's First News with Bill Van Ness


Payne County now has 12 positive COVID-19 cases, up from 7 yesterday. This is consistent with our expectation, and there are still a number of unconfirmed cases in our community. The rising case numbers reflect the availability of testing, but not a lot of other insight.

Our concern continues to be on the number of hospitalizations and deaths, which may reflect more about the ongoing spread of coronavirus. Deaths in Oklahoma jumped from 8 to 15 overnight.

OKC and Tulsa have jointly issued new “shelter in place” orders. These orders expand Governor Stitt’s “safer at home” policy, which applies only to vulnerable populations, to all residents of OKC and Tulsa. Both cities continue to use the Governor’s list of nonessential business closures.

As I wrote earlier this week, we are all vulnerable to this virus and we should all abide by the safer at home guidelines: Stay home except for essential errands or to work at an essential business. Many of you have pointed out to me that our community is not following this advice, and I share this concern.

City staff is working on a shelter in place order for Stillwater that will align with OKC, Tulsa, and Norman, which issued a similar order earlier this week. Stillwater’s order will likely take effect on Tuesday morning, as we work to determine the details of enforcement and application.

Our efforts to slow the spread of this virus are best undertaken collectively and regionally, so that we can all protect each other. I urge other communities in Oklahoma, as well as the Governor, to adopt these more stringent standards as well.

The success of all these efforts depends on each of us choosing to put the welfare of the community ahead of our own desires. I can’t force you to do that, but as Oklahomans we take great pride in our ability to pull together and overcome whatever obstacle we face. This is the time for the Oklahoma Standard. This is the time for America’s Friendliest College Town to show how much we care.



A message from Stillwater Regional Airport Director Paul Priegel:

Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, the safety of our passengers, employees and all who use Stillwater Regional Airport continue to be top priority.  In recent weeks, passenger numbers nationwide have dropped in excess of 85% and our airport is also seeing similar impacts. Although it may sound counter-intuitive, decreases in passenger numbers are a positive sign of our citizens doing what they can to #flattenthecurve and hopefully reduce the spread of COVID-19. We do understand some still must travel so we wanted to identify measures being taken at SWO should you have travel planned in the near future.
1. Airport, TSA and Airline staff are disinfecting seating, counters, and other touch points throughout the terminal after each flight.
2. Sanitation stations are located throughout the terminal
3. Seating areas have been rearranged and limited to allow for “social distancing”
4. Self-Serve coffee stations have been temporarily closed
5. Public information has been posted in restrooms and common areas, reminding how we can all do our part to stop the spread of COVID-19
6. TSA is now allowing one liquid hand sanitizer container, up to 12 ounces in size, per passenger to be allowed in carry-on baggage.  For more TSA COVOD-19 exemptions and accommodations please visit their website at www.tsa.gov/coronavirus.  
7. In an effort to keep crowd numbers as low as possible, we ask the non-traveling public to please refrain from visiting the terminal or other public areas of the airport.  Those picking up passengers can utilize our designated “Cell Phone Lot” until your passenger arrives and then pull up curbside for passenger pick-up.
8. Airline Agents and Flight Crews are making extra effort to allow for social distancing in the boarding process and with in-flight seating arrangements.  Please understand these processes may be different than you are accustomed to but are done for everyone’s safety.

As traveler numbers continue to decline we expect the airlines to begin altering schedules or perhaps cancelling those flights with low passenger bookings.  We would ask that you please check your flight’s status before coming to the airport.  Should you experience a travel disruption and need to rebook or alter your flight plans, please reach out to American Airlines directly.  Due to high call volume, American Airlines is providing information and many online assistance options at www.aa.com.

Our airport family remains committed to all who #FlySWO and appreciate your patience and consideration as we work through this unprecedented time.  For any additional questions, please do not hesitate to reach out at FlySWO@stillwater.org..

ABC News

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