Stitt to Order Additional COVID Restrictions Affecting Gatherings, Youth Sports
Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt announced Thursday afternoon he will implement two new restrictions aimed at slowing the spread of COVID-19.
Stitt said he will file an executive order limiting attendance at indoor youth sporting events to four spectators per athlete or 50% building capacity, whichever is less. Public gatherings will also be limited to 50% capacity unless the local health department signs off on more people attending.
"Public gatherings include weddings, funerals, holiday parties at event centers. This doesn't apply to churches, but I want them to continue to innovate," Stitt said. "You know, most of the churches that I've talked to are checking temperatures before the kids go into nursery. They're all — their workers are wearing masks."
Stitt said he’s also extending requirements for bars and restaurants to keep tables 6 feet apart and close at 11 p.m. and for masks to be worn in state buildings. All restrictions announced Thursday will last 30 days.
"I know this is a challenge, and these actions will personally affect many Oklahomans. These are difficult and complex decisions, and I want every Oklahoman to know that I don't take any of these decisions lightly," Stitt said.
Stitt praised Oklahomans for flattening the curve and said new case trends have held steady for the past three weeks. That is true, but they have been at the highest levels to date, with the seven-day average ranging from 2,800 to a high of almost 3,400 in that time. In early November, the average was around 1,200.
Stitt also continues to avoid a statewide mask requirement. He said a Carnegie Mellon study found 87% of Oklahomans are wearing masks, up from 79% on Nov. 1 and comparable to rates in Alabama and Louisiana. Those results come from surveys of Facebook users, and Oklahoma ranks 46th overall.
Data from the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington estimates around 60% of Oklahomans have worn masks since May.