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Online petition urges Mayor GT Bynum to require masks in large gatherings ahead of Trump rally

Health concerns about the spread of COVID-19
Posted at 5:49 PM, Jun 15, 2020
and last updated 2020-06-15 20:45:26-04

TULSA, Okla. — Growing health concerns over President Donald Trump's rally scheduled for this upcoming weekend sparked one resident to create a petition online.

"Time is of the essence to make sure that this weekend at the very least that there’s masks required," says Sofia Noshay.

The mother of two living in Tulsa created the petition on change.org urging Mayor GT Bynum to require participants in gatherings of 50 or more to wear masks at all times. She says it has nothing to do with politics.

"I’m a very big believer in people should be able to have the right to speak up for what they believe in... but it shouldn’t be at the cost of health of people that can’t necessarily help it," expresses Noshay.

Oklahoma has been under phase 3 of reopening since June 1, so there are currently no size limits on gatherings and face masks aren't required, although it is recommended.

Dr. Bruce Dart, the director of the Tulsa Health Department, wishes President Trump's rally would be postponed to a later date when it is safer.

"Everybody should have a voice in the political process, but let’s lend our voices when it’s safer and right now in Tulsa based on the data and disease transmission, right now is not a good time," says Dr. Dart.

He says there has been a surge of coronavirus cases over the last seven to 10 days. Today, there were 89 cases reported, the highest number in a single day in Tulsa County.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the risk of COVID-19 spreading is highest in "large in-person gatherings where it is difficult for individuals to remain spaced at least 6 feet apart."

The chairman of the Oklahoma Republican Party addressed health concerns during a press conference.

"The Trump campaign will be providing masks for every person who is at the BOK center, hand sanitizer and they will be doing temperature checks on every single person that comes through the door," says David McClain.

People who registered online to attend the rally had to acknowledge "that an inherent risk of exposure to COVID-19 exists... and agree not to hold Donald J. Trump for President, Inc.; BOK Center" accountable.

The rally is scheduled for Saturday, June 20 at 7 p.m. at the BOK Center in downtown Tulsa. Doors will open at 3 p.m.

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