The Supreme Court of Oklahoma has ruled that US President Donald Trump’s rally in Tulsa on Saturday, may push through as scheduled.
The court ruled to allow Trump’s rally in Oklahoma to proceed, which will be the president’s first rally since March. A lawsuit was filed last week aiming to halt the event over concerns that it could further spread the Covid-19 virus.
Local health officials have expressed concern over hosting the rally as the number of cases in the state continues to increase.
However, the Trump campaign claims that they received over 1 million ticket requests for the event, with the queue beginning to form earlier this week at the 19,000-seat-capacity Bank of Oklahoma Center.
The rally is aimed at rebooting the Republican president’s campaign for November following a challenging start for the week, with news of falling poll numbers, US Supreme Court defeats, and there resurgence of Covid-19 cases.
John Hope Franklin for Reconciliation, a nonprofit organisation that promotes racial equality, and the Greenwood Centre, a commercial real estate company, filed the lawsuit to cancel the event.
According to them, the venue should implement social distancing guidelines based on US public health officials’ recommendations, or just cancel the event.
However, the Oklahoma Supreme Court explained that since the state had begun to reopen, social distancing regulations are left at the hands of individual business owners. This was amidst a recent surge in coronavirus cases.
Addressing the safety concerns, the Trump campaign said they will check attendees’ temperatures and offer hand sanitiser and masks.
On the other hand, those who were purchasing tickets online for the Tulsa rally had to click on a waiver confirming they “voluntarily assume all risks related to exposure to Covid-19” and will not hold the president’s campaign responsible for “any illness or injury”.
President Trump has been opposing guidelines surrounding masks, calling them a personal choice. In an interview with political news outlet Axios, he said: “I recommend people do what they want.”
White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany said masks will be given out to attendees but they will not be instructed to wear them. She also mentioned that she will not be wearing one either.
Coronavirus and security at the Tulsa rally
Tulsa’s health department director Dr. Bruce Dart said: “I wish we could postpone this to a time when the virus isn’t as large a concern as it is today.”
While the mayor has imposed a curfew on Thursday around the venue, declaring a civil emergency, Trump said he was assured that it would not apply to the rally itself.
Republican Mayor GT Bynum cited recent “civil unrest” and potential opposition protests as his basis for implementing a curfew on a six-block radius near the arena. However, the Secret Service asked the city to lift the curfew on Friday.
Bynum said: “Last night, I enacted a curfew at the request of Tulsa Police Chief Wendell Franklin, following consultation with the United States Secret Service based on intelligence they had received.”
“Today, we were told the curfew is no longer necessary so I am rescinding it,” he explained.