Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt Bars Agencies from Mask and Vaccination Mandates

A protective mask is seen on the ground near St.Peter's Square, in Rome, Wednesday, Aug. 12, 2020. Italy produced 10% less garbage during its coronavirus lockdown, but environmentalists warn that increased reliance on disposable masks and packaging is imperiling efforts to curb single-use plastics that end up in oceans and …
AP Photo/Paolo Santalucia

Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt (R) issued an executive order Friday that bans state agencies from enforcing mask mandates and coronavirus vaccine requirements for people using their buildings.

The order, which takes effect Tuesday, says, “All buildings and office space, owned or leased by the State of Oklahoma and open to the public shall rescind any mandate for the wearing of masks in order to receive government services.”

In addition, the order says, “All state agencies are hereby prohibited from requiring a vaccination against COVID-19 as a condition of admittance to any public building.”

In announcing the order, Stitt said the order “shall not apply to employees and buildings of state agencies primarily involved in medical patient-facing activities including research participant areas and facilities where patient care is the primary function.”

The order also said it should not be “construed to restrict an individual’s right to wear a mask in a state or public building.”

“For over a year, the COVID-19 pandemic has affected the lives of all four million Oklahomans,” Stitt said. “Due to the fortitude of our people and the diligence of our medical professionals, our state is now in a position where every Oklahoman who wants a vaccine has had the ability to undergo a complete cycle.”

“It is time to return to normal,” he continued, saying, “The standard for normal is freedom.”

“Every Oklahoman must have access to all government services whether or not they choose to be vaccinated or wear a mask,” Stitt added.

In addition to his executive order, Stitt also signed a bill Friday that prohibits state schools and colleges from enforcing mandatory mask mandates or vaccination requirements:

“I’ve signed SB 658, to ensure that students can go to school without that choice being made for them,” Stitt wrote in a tweet. “This bill also prevents schools from requiring vaccine passports or masks for unvaccinated students.”

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