Stitt April 17

In this screen image on his Facebook page, Gov. Kevin Stitt speaks at a news conference at Integris hospital in Oklahoma City on Friday.

Gov. Kevin Stitt seems to be headed toward a gradual reopening of Oklahoma’s economy starting May 1.

At a press conference Friday, he didn’t make any commitments but suggested projections are good that he might be able to allow nonessential businesses to start reopening around that time.

The state’s ability to continue ramping up testing capacity and use that information to trace contagious contacts will be critical elements in that decision, Stitt said.

At a separate press conference, Mayor G.T. Bynum said he very much doubted he would be easing the city’s more restrictive COVID-19 rules any time before May 1.

Bynum cautioned that he might extend the city’s restrictions into May if public health officials tell him they are necessary.

Stitt has ordered nonessential businesses closed statewide, limited public gatherings to 10 people and told contagious, elderly and at-risk people not to go out in public. Bynum has ordered all Tulsans to stay inside except for essential activities.

Both leaders say they are basing their decisions on scientific data and the recommendations of public health experts, which is as it should be.

Everyone is anxious to get back to business, but timing that move is critically important. Act too quickly, and we risk another spike and another shutdown. Act too late, and the economy continues its freefall.

The only reasonable way to do it right is to act on the basis of scientific advice, not political pressure or hopes.

We urge Stitt and Bynum to remain steadfast in their efforts to protect the people of Oklahoma and Tulsa through difficult but necessary and legal actions. These are the most critical choices they are likely to make in their public lives, and they have to be done right.

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