OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — — Oklahoma went into its first weekend of a reopened economy during the coronavirus pandemic as residents were allowed to return to restaurants, mall and other stores.
State health officials reported eight new deaths and 103 new infections on Saturday, even as tempers flared in some parts of the state over restrictions still in place.
In Stillwater, city officials on Friday amended a local emergency declaration after businesses reported being threatened by customers who didn’t want to be forced to wear masks to enter.
The changes now make masks for optional customers instead of mandatory, although they are still strongly recommended. Employees are still required to wear them.
City Manager Norman McNickle issued a statement about the change and the controversy surrounding mandatory face coverings:
“Store employees have been threatened with physical violence and showered with verbal abuse,” Stillwater City Manager Norman McNickle said in a statement. “It is further distressing that these people, while exercising their believed rights, put others at risk.”
For most people, the coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough that clear up in two to three weeks. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia.
The state health department reported that Oklahoma has had more than 3,800 confirmed COVID-19 cases and nearly 240 deaths from the disease. The number of infections is thought to be far higher because many people haven’t been tested and studies suggest that people can be infected without showing symptoms.
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