Gov. Stitt working on plans to reopen state, churches being a point of attention

Joplin Area Coronavirus

Courtesy of KFOR

OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – May 3. That’s the date Gov. Kevin Stitt said he would like to see churches start to reopen safely.

This, amid rising numbers in COVID-19 cases. The state is nearing 2,500 positive cases at 2,465 along with 136 deaths, five more than Thursday. However, Stitt said he thinks churches can make guidelines to open safely.

“I encouraged them to set up their guidelines, their guidance, on how they want to safely reopen,” Stitt said.

According to Stitt, he has been doing Zoom calls this week with church leaders throughout the state to discuss options regarding reopening.

“We had a great call with the church groups,” he said.

However, not all church leaders are buying the early opening.

“We’re concerned, we’re very concerned,” said the Rev. Shannon Fleck, executive director of the Oklahoma Conference of Churches. “The virus is not going to be gone.”

According to Fleck, this week’s Zoom calls with the governor were one-sided.

“All participants were muted. We were not permitted the opportunity to ask questions,” she said.

Fleck added that the guidelines to reopen were left to the churches with no guidance.

“We have received zero details on what that looks like, what they would like that to look like, who we send them in to or any kind of parameters for us to follow,” Fleck said.

The OCC aired their grievances with the plan in a letter signed by more than 100 churches across Oklahoma. However, not everyone agrees with the church’s objections. Some people have taken Stitt’s side.

“I think as long as we take precautions and wash your hands and maybe even keep wearing masks, as hard as it seems to do, but this is America, we got to get going,” said Geoff Mcallister, a man in favor of opening churches.

However, many churches still feel that the early opening could cause any progress made in this pandemic to come to a screeching halt.

“Is that the best decision?” Fleck said. “Is that the best possible way for us to love and care for our neighbor?”

Fleck said she hopes to continue talking through plans with the governor, but as of right now, it stands that none of the churches wish to open this early.

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