Tribal Leaders Urge Stitt to Issue Statewide Shelter-in-Place Order

Apr 11, 2020

Tribal leaders from across Oklahoma sent Gov. Kevin Stitt a letter on Friday urging him to issue a shelter in place order for the entire state.

A total of 26 tribal leaders signed the letter, including Cherokee Nation Principal Chief Chuck Hoskin Jr., Chickasaw Nation Gov. Bill Anoatubby, Choctaw Nation Chief Gary Batton and Muscogee (Creek) Nation Chief David Hill.

The letter notes that the tribes closed their casinos, their main sources of revenue, in order to protect public health during the COVID-19 pandemic and says state lawmakers have entrusted Stitt to protect Oklahomans by affirming his public health emergency declaration, granting him significant powers.

"In this pivotal moment and with the needs of all Oklahomans in mind, we urge you to use these powers and go further than the present order, and to issue a full and statewide shelter-in-place order. As the experience in other states and countries shows and as broadly recommended by public health experts, this is the surest path to containing the virus's public health risk and to limit its longer-term social disruptions."

Stitt has repeatedly declined to issue a statewide shelter-in-place order, saying his order for the elderly and people with compromised immune systems to stay home is enough, and not getting sick is a matter of "personal responsibility."

Several communities in the state have issued shelter-in-place orders of varying names, restrictions and lengths of time.