This article was published on March 13. For the most up-to-date information about OKC area attractions that are closed due to COVID-19, please visit www.metrofamilymagazine.com/coronavirus-okc.
One thing’s for certain about the coronavirus: it has the power to incite deep fear and anxiety across populations. It also has the power to divide us, bickering about who is over-reacting or under-reacting, hoarding essentials for ourselves and turning a blind eye to those truly in need right now. The Oklahoma City community has a reputation for coming together amidst disaster and heartbreak. Let’s dust off that Oklahoma Standard right now to spread some kindness and consider how we can operate more out of compassion and less out of fear and greed.
- Check on your neighbors. Do you live near people who are elderly, have tiny babies or who are immunocompromised? Could you drop off a meal, offer to grocery shop, leave a bouquet of flowers on their porch or have your kids make a card to brighten their day?
- Support local nonprofits and arts organizations. Many organizations have had to cancel large events or fundraisers, which they depend on funds from to operate. If possible, don’t ask for a refund but consider the tickets you purchased a donation. If you haven’t recently supported such an organization, consider how much a donation of any size will mean in these times. Congratulate the nonprofits in our community who are getting creative to continue to serve those in need, like how Infant Crisis Services is providing drive-thru service for clients needing diapers, wipes and food. (While you’re spending more time at home, go through your kids’ old toys and clothes to see what you can drop off to donate!) Our community’s most vulnerable populations are most at risk — how can you help support them through local organizations?
- Get behind local events when they are rescheduled. Oklahoma Contemporary’s much-anticipated new building was scheduled to open with much fanfare and family programs this weekend. Let’s be on the lookout for when events like these are rescheduled and show up in droves to support them. The National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum postponed the special family programming surrounding its new exhibit Liichokoshkomo’ from this weekend to the Annual Chuck Wagon Festival on Memorial Day weekend. Let’s mark our calendars to be there for it.
- Have #okcfamilyfun! If you’re healthy and practicing those safe health precautions, OKC attractions would love to welcome you! Museums throughout the metro are working hard to ensure the safety of families so you can feel confident in visiting. Science Museum Oklahoma is encouraging social distancing by moving benches farther apart and limiting capacity in theatre shows. Oklahoma Hall of Fame is modifying Spring Break activities in accordance with social distancing recommendations. The OKC Museum of Art and National Cowboy & Western Museum may have canceled special programming but the museums themselves are still open and would love your support.
- Shop locally. COVID-19 has the potential to devastate small businesses but we have the power to step in and support them. And small businesses are taking extra measures to ensure customer safety, like Green Bambino in Oklahoma City, which is offering delivery and curbside pickup for parents who don’t want to venture out. Plenty of inventory of most-used baby and kid essentials will be in stock so parents don’t have to fear running out.
- Eat locally. OKC Black Eats is calling community members to be intentional with their spending to support small businesses especially as those businesses are taking important steps to keep you safe. Eat at local restaurants or grab a meal to go if you’re practicing social distancing. Either way, tip as generously as you can because service industry employees are relying on those funds to pay their bills and feed their kids. If you’re concerned about cleanliness during the COVID-10 outbreak, ask questions before you go. Many locally-owned restaurants, like those in the Hal Smith Group and Good Egg Dining Group, have already released statements explaining guidelines for sanitation and sick employees to reassure patrons. Hal Smith Restaurants also reminds patrons that several of their entities, like Charleston’s and Pub W locations, offer curbside-to-go. Those restaurants you frequented in February during OKC Black Restaurant Weeks — go back.
- Employ delivery services. If you’re concerned about going to the store or being in public in general, use a delivery service, thus ensuring employment for the local folks who’ll be doing your shopping for you or picking up your meal.
- Be patient. We’re living in uncertainty right now, unsure if our Spring Break plans will be canceled, schools will be called off or toilet paper will ever be restocked. Let’s operate from an attitude that all those around us are trying to make the best possible decisions for the people they serve. Let’s understand that what’s best for one family may not be for another. Let’s protect each other from germs as best we can.
What other local businesses and organizations should we as a community commit to support during these tumultuous times? Leave a comment below or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.