Following Rally Controversy, BOK Center Operator Says No Further Bookings Without Local Guidance

Jun 24, 2020

At a special meeting of the Tulsa Public Facilities Authority (TPFA) held virtually on Tuesday, an executive from the company that manages the BOK Center said they will not book or sign contracts for any further events without clear guidelines.

"Our intention is not to book any additional events, or contract with any additional event organizers, until we have some policies or guidance from the TPFA and perhaps even other local officials, including the public health director," said Doug Thornton, an executive vice president at ASM Global.

At the meeting, the authority voted to retain a general counsel, with trustees calling the need for a legal adviser "immediate" and "extreme."

Thornton said the BOK Center followed a public health and safety operating plan used in ASM's venues elsewhere around the country, which included policies on managing food service, sanitization, and the movement of attendees throughout the arena.

"The only one that was not activated was the limitation on seating," Thornton said of Saturday's rally.

Dr. Bruce Dart, director of the Tulsa Health Department, repeatedly warned that the president's rally should be postponed given a current spike in COVID-19 at the local and statewide levels. At a press conference last Wednesday, Mayor G.T. Bynum told reporters that the president's visit was a "tremendous honor," even while acknowledging it may not be safe.