Oklahoma Gov. Stitt drops state’s COVID-19 restrictions

OKLAHOMA CITY — State COVID-19 restrictions are on their way out in Oklahoma, Gov. Kevin Stitt announced Thursday morning.

In the press conference, Stitt announced that there will no longer be statewide restrictions on events or Oklahomans moving forward after he signs an executive order on Friday.

Stitt’s office says he signed the order Friday morning.

He also announced there would be no more mask requirements for state employees and wearing masks in state buildings.

“Wearing a mask should be a personal decision based on your circumstances,” Stitt says.

The decision comes more than a week after the neighboring state of Texas rolled back all of its restrictions and state mask mandate.

Oklahoma cities will still have the power to set their own restrictions. Tulsa’s restrictions and mask mandate will remain in place for the time being.

Stitt said Thursday that 170,000 more doses of the COVID-19 vaccine are currently on their way to Oklahoma. The state has maintained one of the best in the U.S. in vaccines administered per capita.

“There is no doubt that the state has made tremendous progress and is one of the nation’s leaders in vaccination efforts. But letting up on our efforts to battle COVID now is like a football player spiking the ball at the five-yard line. We are nearing the goal, but we are not there yet. I applaud all of the municipalities who have kept their mask ordinances and other commonsense measures in place as we work toward protecting our population. I urge all Oklahomans to get vaccinated as soon as you are able. Additionally, it is vital that we continue to wear our masks, keep our distance and wash our hands. We are so close to the goal line—don’t let up now.”

—  Oklahoma State Medical Association President George Monks, M.D.

The seven-day rolling average of new cases in Oklahoma has declined from 736 daily to 643, according to Johns Hopkins University data. The state health department reported 288 hospitalizations, down from a record 1,994 on Jan. 5.