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Governor Kevin Stitt, who proudly posted a picture of his family eating dinner in a crowded restaurant as Covid first bore down on Oklahoma, has recently announced the state will no longer require masks in government buildings. He also struck down any Oklahoma government office’s ability to mandate COVID vaccines.
The executive order applies to residents who plan to enter government buildings. However, the order does not apply to medical facilities, most of which still require masks, whether a person has been vaccinated for COVID-19 or not.
The order states that, “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.” The executive order followed up with, “all state agencies are hereby prohibited from requiring a vaccination against COVID-19 as a condition of admittance to any public building.”
A “return to normal” in abnormal times
Noting that Oklahoma residents have many options for receiving a COVID vaccine, as well as low COVID numbers, Governor Stitt stated that he thinks Oklahoma should continue to “open up,” — his catchall phrase for insisting Oklahoma facilities return to their typical pre-COVID hours and rules, in the hopes of stimulating the economy. “It is time to return to normal,” he stated.
Governor Stitt also made a plug for individual choice when it comes to taking the COVID vaccine, noting, “the standard for normal is freedom.” Personal choice is another one of Governor Stitt’s favorite phrases to describe Oklahoma policies, and one he regularly uses when describing his actions as governor, one of which includes an executive order for a day of prayer for local COVID victims.
According to the Oklahoma Department of Health, the state has had over 450,000 cases of COVID-19 since March 2020, with nearly 8500 deaths. However, since the advent of the vaccine, cases are down to near-record lows, with the seven-day rolling average of new cases at 124.
To schedule your COVID-19 vaccine, go to https://vaccinate.oklahoma.gov/en-US/