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The Tulsa City Council unanimously approved a resolution imploring employers to allow for telework as much as possible due to the ongoing severe risk of contracting COVID-19 locally.

“The rate of viral transmission in our community right now is very, very high,” said Councilor Lori Decter Wright, one of the resolution’s sponsors, at a Dec. 16 meeting. “It is a level red according to the White House task force, the CDC and our own health department. That means you should stay home unless it’s essential.”

“So I hope that while this isn’t an ordinance, it’s enough of a policy position to really communicate, really, the situation we’re in,” Decter Wright said.

“We are strongly encouraging — in fact, I would say imploring — businesses to find creative ways to let anybody who works from home stay home,” said Councilor Kara Joy McKee, the measure’s other sponsor. “Because we know that there are folks like restaurant and retail workers who absolutely can not stay home. If every one of us who can stay home stays home, that gives some more space for those folks to avoid the virus.”

McKee and Decter Wright noted that many businesses successfully implemented telework options during the “first wave” of the pandemic in the spring, and that current infection rates are significantly worse than then.

The council said at the meeting that the Tulsa Health Department was not currently recommending additional restrictive measures to combat the virus’ spread at this time.