Retrospective: A timeline of COVID-19 in Payne County | New


Something we can’t see has fundamentally changed the way many of us live and work over the past 12-13 months as COVID-19 swept the world and the United States

Like the rest of the country and the state of Oklahoma, Stillwater has been operating under some type of emergency declaration since March 2020.

Sunday marked one year from the date the first case was confirmed in Payne County and Monday was the first anniversary of Stillwater’s first declaration of emergency.


The virus moved quickly.

Stillwater’s first emergency statement was released just 10 weeks after the World Health Organization first took a media statement from the Wuhan Municipal Health Commission on cases of one guy of viral pneumonia in Wuhan, China, according to a WHO COVID-19 schedule.

On January 9, the WHO reported that Chinese authorities had determined that the outbreak was caused by a new coronavirus, a type of virus that causes severe respiratory symptoms.

As of January 30, there were confirmed cases of the virus in the United States and Europe and the WHO had declared it a public health emergency of international concern, its highest alert level.

On January 31, President Donald Trump declared a public health emergency for the United States

On February 11, the disease caused by the virus was given the name COVID-19.

On March 6, the first case of COVID-19 was confirmed in Oklahoma.

On March 13, President Donald Trump declared a state of emergency under the Stafford Act and the National Emergencies Act.

Stillwater timeline

March 15:

Health officials announce the first confirmed case of COVID-19 in Payne County. At that time, there were a total of seven cases in the state, confined to major urban centers.

Stillwater Mayor Will Joyce issues declaration of emergency closing major city-owned events and recreational facilities. Municipal court records have been canceled and most council or committee meetings have been canceled. Measures to increase the distance between customers have been encouraged for restaurants, bars, gyms and exercise facilities.

March 16:

Governor Kevin Stitt declares a state of emergency in all 77 counties due to the spread of COVID-19.

The Mayor of Stillwater issues a declaration of emergency authorizing the City Manager to temporarily change the rules, regulations and contracts regarding employee schedules and holidays and personal grooming arrangements.

Project Heart Seniors Nutrition Program Ends Due to COVID-19 Concerns. It reopens the next day to deliver meals to the curb.

March 23:

The Mayor of Stillwater issues an emergency declaration shutting down businesses identified as non-essential, such as beauty salons, health clubs, spas, tattoo parlors and nail salons and requiring that retail establishments retailers require a minimum of six feet between in-line customers and use measures to encourage distancing while shopping. Gatherings of 10 or more people were prohibited.

March 30:

The Mayor of Stillwater has issued an emergency declaration requiring residents of Stillwater to shelter in place, leaving their homes only for essential activities or to operate an essential business.

April 10:

Joyce issues a declaration of emergency strongly encouraging the use of face coverings when in contact with people outside your household. Planning committee meetings and adjustment council meetings were allowed to meet after May 1.

May 1:

Stillwater is in the national news as the mayor cancels a mask requirement for businesses after stores reported that their employees were abused and threats were made.

May 15:

A new declaration of emergency is issued banning gatherings of more than 50 people and requiring medically vulnerable residents and people over 65 to continue sheltering in place unless they are engaged in an essential activity . Previously closed non-essential businesses have been allowed to reopen while using emergency procedures and standards for employees and customers.

June 1:

Another declaration of emergency is issued repealing the ban on gatherings but discouraging large gatherings when social distancing cannot be maintained. Medically vulnerable residents and people over 65 are encouraged to continue sheltering in place, but are not required to do so. Specific requirements for businesses and services are no longer required, but physical distancing and mitigation are still recommended. The town hall and other municipal facilities reopen to the public. The community center and the public library are reopening. The Seniors Activity Center remains closed until further notice and Project Heart continues to deliver curbside meals for seniors.

Couch Park’s public swimming pool is not open for the season.

June 8:

Stillwater has recorded 22 confirmed cases of COVID-19.

June 29:

The June 1 emergency declaration is extended until July 15 due to a spike in positive COVID-19 cases.

July 9th :

Stillwater City Council approves an ordinance requiring face coverings to be worn in public.

July 9 and 30:

The emergency proclamation of June 1 is extended.

August 17:

Oklahoma State University students return to teaching in person. Video recorded the previous weekend shows young people without masks filling the dance floor of a Washington Street bar.

August 18:

A new state of emergency is declared due to the community spread of COVID-19. Limitations are placed on bar operations, including half of the capacity. Parts of Town Hall remain closed, the Seniors Activity Center remains closed, and Project Heart continues to deliver curbside meals to seniors.

August 31 :

COVID-19 cases in Stillwater jump to 276 active cases, the sixth highest in the state with a total of 940 positive cases reported.

September 28:

Stillwater Medical Center adopts scale-up plan to increase capacity and cope with peak in COVID-19 patients.

November 30:

An emergency declaration is enacted that requires six feet away and 50% capacity in bars and restaurants. Access to certain town hall offices is once again authorized. People entering town hall are required to wear masks. Parks and facilities are open and residents are advised that they use them at their own risk. League sports are urged to adopt and apply social distancing protocols.

December 19:

The emergency procedures of the previous declaration are extended.

December 21:

Stillwater Medical Center begins converting a conference room into a patient care space to handle COVID-19 patient overflows.

February 24:

The city’s ordinance requiring face coverings in public is extended until May 25 by city council.

February 25:

Stillwater has recorded 5,948 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 23 deaths

February 26:

A revised emergency declaration strongly encourages bars and restaurants to maintain a six-foot distance between customers and to set limits on the number of people at the table. Customers are required to wear face coverings except when eating or drinking. Retail businesses and churches are also strongly encouraged to maintain social distancing.

Twitter: @mcharlesNP

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