Oklahoma Governor Ends COVID-19 Restrictions
Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt (R) announced he will issue an executive order to end COVID-19 restrictions on state events and end the mask mandate in state buildings. The report follows similar recent actions by neighboring Texas as well as Mississippi.
“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.
The governor appealed to personal responsibility, noting each person has a part to stop the spread of the coronavirus. He encouraged citizens to continue to wear masks if they would prefer.
Unlike many states, Stitt noted, “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 seven-day average before some of the municipalities put in more restrictions.”
The governor also noted his focus on citizens’ rights regarding masks. “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.”
The news came the same day as President Biden announced plans to keep Americans limited to small groups through Independence Day in July. In the president’s speech, he noted, “That doesn’t mean large events with lots of people together, but it does mean small groups will be able to get together.”
Stitt apparently didn’t get the memo. And he’s not alone. Numerous states are now rolling back pandemic restrictions. The increase in vaccinations, combined with a decrease in new cases, has led to near normal activities in many parts of the country.
Those in Washington, or leaders in blue states like California and New York, increasingly sound like they are living on another planet. Republican-led states like Florida, Texas and Mississippi are flourishing without masks. In contrast, Los Angeles public schools refuse to return until every person is vaccinated.
Yes, the pandemic was terrible and we grieve those whose lives were lost. But grief does not require a year-plus of quarantine and a near shutdown of all American freedoms.
Stitt knows the best move for his state is opening its schools, economy and even its sporting events. With summer just ahead, the move is also important for tourism. When Americans can’t easily travel internationally, they vacation where they can, whether in sunny Florida or an Oklahoma lake resort.
Biden’s unity message is increasingly becoming a Divided States of America message over pandemic restrictions. It’s a battle the president will certainly lose over time, as the will of the nation’s people is for freedom from restrictions rather than more of them.