- The Washington Times - Monday, April 27, 2020

Oklahoma City Mayor David Holt on Monday said he likely would have waited a bit longer for businesses to reopen and said he won’t be comfortable until there’s a proven vaccine for the new coronavirus.

A limited number of businesses in the state were allowed to reopen on Friday, with places like restaurants allowed to come back online starting May 1 with social distancing protocols in place.

“Until there is a vaccine or a proven treatment, I’m not going to be comfortable about this transition,” Mr. Holt, a Republican, said on CNN’s “New Day.” “I recognize, however, on the other hand, that we can’t shelter in place forever.”

“So I know there’s a date out there,” he said. “My gut would have picked a date a little farther out, but we’re trying to make the best of this.”

He said he’s gotten many messages from restaurant owners and hair salons who want more time and aren’t comfortable opening yet.

“I’m not saying it’s July or August — maybe just a few more weeks,” he said. “If cases spike, this experiment will have failed, and we’ll have to find a new path forward.”

Oklahoma is one of a handful of states that have started allowing some businesses to come back online amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Gov. Kevin Stitt defended the plans over the weekend and said he’s generally giving leeway to local leaders.

“We understand that COVID is still here … people are still going to get it,” Mr. Stitt said on “Fox News Sunday.” “But Oklahomans are safe, and we’re ready for a measured reopening.”

• David Sherfinski can be reached at dsherfinski@washingtontimes.com.

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