Republican Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt announced Thursday that he is removing all of the coronavirus restrictions in the state.
Stitt’s Friday executive order will mean that “there will be no statewide restrictions on events and on Oklahomans,” including no mask requirement for Oklahoma’s government buildings, the governor said in a news conference according to The Hill.
“The standard for normal cannot be zero cases,” Stitt said according to the report. “In Oklahoma, the standard for normal is freedom. As long as I’m governor, I will protect the freedom of Oklahomans.”
The governor warned that “COVID is still here” and that “we still need to do our part.”
“You can still, and you’re even encouraged, to wear a mask, depending on your circumstances,” he added.
The Oklahoma House passed a bill March 4 that would ban the government from closing places of worship in an 80-18 vote. Several other states, including Connecticut, Texas and Mississippi are lifting some or all of their coronavirus restrictions as cases decline.
Oklahoma’s seven-day average for coronavirus cases was around 2,200 when the pandemic began and is now around 800, state Health Commissioner Lance Frye said according to the report.