Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt (R) announced he will issue an executive order to remove coronavirus restrictions on events in the state and end the mask requirement for state buildings.
In announcing the decision to “get our summer back” on Thursday, Stitt was accompanied by Commissioner of Health Dr. Lance Frye and Secretary of Health and Mental Health Kevin Corbett.
“Because of the progress we have made, I will be issuing a new executive order tomorrow,” Stitt said. “There will be no statewide restrictions on events or Oklahomans. I’m also removing the requirements to wear a mask in state buildings.”
“More Oklahomans are getting vaccines each day, and the CDC’s new guidelines mean wearing a mask should be a personal decision based on your circumstances,” he added.
While announcing the few remaining restrictions would be lifted, Stitt stressed the importance for residents in the state to use “personal responsibility” to do their part in preventing the spread. He also encouraged people to wear face masks if they would like to do so.
The standard for normal cannot be zero cases. In Oklahoma, the standard for normal is freedom. The freedom to worship, the freedom to go to work and earn a paycheck, the freedom to visit your loved ones in nursing homes, the freedom to send your kids to school in person, and the freedom to protect your family however you see fit. As long as I’m governor, I will protect the freedoms of Oklahomans.
Stitt also touted the state’s drop in case numbers across the state, comparing them to last summer’s averages.
“Oklahoma has been fully reopened since last June,” Stitt said. “We are watching these cases. You just saw the graphs. The numbers are lower today than they were last summer on a 7-day average before some of the municipalities put in more restrictions.”
According to KOCO 5 News, prior to Stitt’s announcement, COVID-19 restrictions included:
- Attendance at youth indoor sporting events are limited to four spectators per participant or 50 percent of the building’s capacity, whichever is lower.
- Public gatherings are limited to 50 percent capacity unless the local health department has granted an exception. Examples of public gatherings include weddings, funerals and holiday parties at event centers. This doesn’t apply to churches, but Stitt said he wants church leaders to continue to innovate in their ways to prevent the spread of the virus.
- Restaurants must ensure all tables are 6 feet apart. If they can’t stay 6 feet apart, they can install properly sanitized dividers to help keep groups separated.
- All state employees and visitors to wear a mask in common areas and near their coworkers in state buildings.
“We look at hospitalizations very closely,” he continued. “That was the whole goal when we thought about flattening the curve, 15 days to flatten the curve last spring. Now we have less than 300 people in the hospitals statewide. We want to get our summer back. But also at the same time, we are telling Oklahomans to take personal responsibility, continue to be vigilant.”
“I think Oklahomans will do the right thing,” Stitt added.
Last week, in the Daily Caller Stitt praised Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) for lifting the state’s mask mandate, reminding everyone he never implemented a statewide mask mandate for Oklahoma.
“Despite constant criticism from the media and the left, I never once entertained a mask mandate here in Oklahoma. I always trusted Oklahomans to do the right thing and keep each other safe. And they have,” Stitt wrote.