(STILLWATER, OKLAHOMA / August 19, 2020) – Stillwater Mayor Joyce signed the latest proclamation declaring a state of emergency amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. Most of Stillwater’s existing restrictions and guidelines remain the same, though Stillwater’s bars are now required to follow stricter guidelines.

Bars, nightclubs, dancehalls and bar service areas in restaurants will be required to implement the following guidelines beginning today, August 19. These procedures and requirements supersede state-mandated and industry rules and regulations unless the state-mandated or industry rules and regulations impose a stricter standard of care or practice.

  • Tables and chairs shall be positioned in a manner to permit a 6-foot minimum distance between groups of bar patrons. Excess tables and chairs shall be removed from the bar or shall remain unoccupied if located within a 6-foot radius and cannot be removed.
  • The maximum occupancy of a bar shall be the lesser of 50 percent of the fire marshal’s load capacity or the maximum number of patrons that can be seated using the above distancing guideline.
  • Patrons shall not be seated in any booth that adjoins another.
  • No more than ten persons may be seated at a single booth.
  • Bar patrons shall not be allowed to stand next to occupied tables.
  • Dance floors and other areas where bar patrons stand shall be closed. However, tables and seating may be relocated to these areas to achieve social and physical distancing.
  • Bar patrons shall only consume beverages or food while seated at a table.
  • The bar shall designate an area or areas where patrons can safely order/pick-up drinks and make payment while maintaining six feet of physical separation from other patrons or groups.
  • Outdoor seating areas are subject to the above requirements.
  • Waiting areas (indoor and outdoor) shall be configured and marked to facilitate six feet of separation between groups of patrons.
  • Bar patrons shall wear face coverings at all times while indoors or outdoors in any designated bar table service area. Patrons may remove face coverings only while seated at a table to consume beverages or food.
  • Employees and all other persons involved in the operation of the bar, shall wear face coverings at all times while on the bar premises. For purposes of this order, the term employees shall include stage performers and musicians, disc jockeys, and any other person hired by the bar for any purpose related to the daily business operation.

These restrictions and requirements will remain in effect through November 30, 2020 at 11:59 p.m. unless it is extended, rescinded, superseded or amended in writing.

This addition to the City’s guidelines comes after community-wide concern generated by viral videos of patrons crowding in Stillwater bars over the weekend. City Council discussed this and further restrictions at its August 17 meeting, and Mayor Will Joyce signed the latest declaration of emergency including these restrictions on August 18. Download and view the proclamation at http://stillwater.org/files/news-releases/covid-19/Aug.-18-procclamation.pdf.

The City continues to work closely with OSU, Payne County Health Department, Stillwater Medical Center and other local organizations to keep the community safe, informed and healthy. OSU is in the middle of its campus reopening plan called “Cowboys Coming Back,” which includes policies and guidelines for contact tracing, COVID-19 testing, touch-point cleaning and personal health responsibilities. For more information, visit https://go.okstate.edu/coronavirus/campus-reopening-plan/plan-at-a-glance/index.html.

“It’s important to remember that our individual actions can affect the community as a whole— so let’s continue to love our neighbors by washing our hands, wearing a face covering and avoiding crowds,” City Manager Norman McNickle said. “Let’s work together as a community to stop the spread of the COVID-19 virus.”

Anyone experiencing symptoms or that may have been in contact with a confirmed case of COVID-19 is asked to contact their healthcare provider or the County Health Department for testing.  Residents are encouraged to follow the Payne County Health Department Facebook page for up-to-date information on testing opportunities.