While COVID-19 has spread pain to every sector of the nation, it has also helped create rumors that El Reno city officials said need to be put to rest.
Mayor and Acting City Manager Matt White said the city is doing its best to follow federal and state guidelines intended to help keep the public safe and hopefully “bend the curve” of the coronavirus.
Some on social media have claimed “big government” is stepping in to take over daily life. Some have suggested there will soon be the need to have a permit to drive a car. White said this isn’t true.
“None of that is true at all,” White said. “But we encourage everybody to do what the governor said. And we encourage everyone to stay calm.”
White and other city officials recommend people avoid socializing in person or going out in groups. With nicer weather moving in, White said it’s understandable that people want to have fun in the sun.
The parks are still open, but it’s recommended to keep children from playing on the playground equipment.
Lake El Reno and Crimson Creek Golf Course are open, although people are encouraged to keep a safe distance between one another.
With temperatures hitting 90 degrees on Thursday, numerous people could be seen fishing and kayaking at Lake El Reno, as well as golfing at Crimson Creek.
Assistant City Manager Matt Sandidge said large open areas like the lake allow for citizens to engage in activities without being close to other people.
At Crimson Creek, the Pro Shop, clubhouse, restrooms and driving range are closed. Tee times must be booked online or over the phone, and no more than five people can be in a group. Walk-up golfers are not permitted.
If people don't live in the same household, golf carts are limited to singles only. Upon arriving for tee-time, customers should call the Pro Shop at 405-422-4653 to be assigned a cart.
White said that whatever citizens choose to do, they should maintain a distance of at least 6 feet and absolutely avoid gatherings of no more than 10 people. He also recommends that people check on their neighbors. “Maintain the social distancing,” he said.
“Check on your neighbors through the phone or holler at them across the street. Just stay away from people.”
White also said that people at an especially high risk such as the elderly need to stay at home.
White is in constant contact with state government. He and Sandidge both said the city is keeping an eye on what other communities are doing and encouraging people to heed the advice of health and government officials.
“We are deferring to the experts, keeping our eyes and ears open for any changes,” said Sandidge.