Oklahoma Governor Lifting Coronavirus Restrictions in State

Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt speaks during a news conference in Oklahoma City. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki File)

Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt said Thursday that statewide coronavirus restrictions will be lifted because increasing vaccinations and decreasing numbers of new cases and hospitalizations.

“There will be no statewide restrictions on events for Oklahomans,” Stitt said. “I’m also removing a requirement to wear masks inside state buildings … wearing a mask should be a personal decision based on your circumstances.”

Limits of 50% occupancy in public buildings and masking requirements, extended in February, will be rescinded Friday, Stitt said.

State health commissioner Dr. Lance Frye said more than 1.3 million Oklahomans have received at least one virus vaccination.

Oklahoma State Medical Association President Dr. George Monks said despite progress in reducing infections, it is too soon to remove the restrictions.

“Letting up on our efforts to battle COVID now is like a football player spiking the ball at the five-yard line. We are nearing the goal, but we are not there yet,” Monks said.

The seven-day rolling average of new cases in Oklahoma has declined from 736 daily to 643, according to Johns Hopkins University data. The state health department reported 288 hospitalizations, down from a record 1,994 on Jan. 5.

There have been a reported 430,944 cases and 7,433 deaths since the pandemic began.