Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt (R) declared a state of emergency Sunday, a day after prompting backlash with a now-deleted tweet featuring a picture of himself and his children eating out.
"Eating with my kids and all my fellow Oklahomans at the @CollectiveOKC. It's packed tonight!" Stitt tweeted Saturday.
Charlie Hannema, chief of communications for the governor's office, told CNN in an email Monday that the governor’s position "has not changed from the instructions he gave Oklahomans on Thursday: Use good common sense, follow the recommended health precautions, protect the elderly and vulnerable populations, but continue to remain calm, live your life and support local businesses."
"The governor will continue to take his family out to dinner and to the grocery store without living in fear and encourages Oklahomans to do the same," Hannema added.
Stitt’s initial tweet came as public health officials have warned Americans to practice “social distancing” and avoid crowds to prevent the community spread of the virus. Numerous states have closed restaurants and entertainment venues entirely, including New York, New Jersey and Connecticut.
Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear (D), meanwhile, announced Monday that bars and restaurants will be limited to drive-thru and delivery service.
“It’s not lost on me that most of these are small businesses,” Beshear said at a Monday press conference announcing the closures. “We're going to do everything we can to be there for you. I realize the impact it's going to have but we have to take the steps to make sure that we are protecting our people."