COVID-19 forces City of Jenks Emergency Declaration, aquarium closure

COVID-19 forces City of Jenks Emergency Declaration, aquarium closure

Jenks Mayor Robert Lee along with City Manager Chris Shrout issued an Emergency Declaration Monday for the City of Jenks to help stop the spread of the COVID-19 virus.

In response to the Center for Disease Control’s guidelines, the City of Jenks is suspending all events or gatherings of 50 or more people in a city-owned or city-operated facility or property through at least April 6.

All special event permits with projected attendance of 50 or more people will officially be revoked and no further special events permits will be issued. Also, there will be no more special events held in the City of Jenks through at least April 6.

The city is encouraging its residents to utilize its auto-draft option for utility billing, pay online or use the drop box in the City Hall parking lot. You can find more information on this subject at

According to a statement released on Facebook, Lee said he wants to make sure every tool is available to help defend against the Coronavirus outbreak.

“We don’t want to leave any resources on the table that can help us test and treat people, take care of those in need and recover economically,” Lee stated.

Also, in the Facebook statement Lee shared some advice for the citizens of Jenks as they cope with the virus.

“The best thing you can do right now is prepare yourself and your family for extended time at home,” Lee shared. “I urge you to learn from the mistakes of countries like Italy and practice social distancing in any way you can. The worst thing you can do is panic or be fearful. We’ll get through this, and we’ll minimize the impact by reacting in a calm and rational manner.”

This Emergency Declaration for the City of Jenks comes shortly after State of Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt issued a State of Emergency, which followed a National Emergency Declaration from United States President Donald Trump.

“There is no reason to panic or be afraid,” Lee said. “I have heard people equate social distancing with fear and I think that is the wrong way to look at it. This is something that can and should be done in a calm and rational way.”

Lee said he regrets the impact this will have on the local economy.

“I deeply regret the effect this is going to have on our local businesses,” Lee said. “There is no way around it, they are going to take a hit because of this. We are going to have a lot of work to do to pull ourselves out of this, but it is something we can do. The government has a lot more tools to help with economic recovery than to have to rebuild a collapsing health care system.”

Oklahoma Aquarium closes indefinitely

Despite the upcoming spring break push and the unveiling of the new Octopus Exhibit, the Oklahoma Aquarium announced Monday it is closing its doors until further notice.

Lee said this was a tough, but correct decision for the City of Jenks.

“This is something the Aquarium staff has been monitoring very closely and have been waiting for the right time to make that announcement,” Lee said. “We don’t take any pleasure in doing this. This is the biggest week of the year being spring break and the Aquarium just unveiled its new Octopus Exhibit, which is spectacular. We hate to have to close down, but it’s the best thing we can do for the staff there and our community.”

Kyle Salomon

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