President Donald Trump can proceed with plans for a campaign rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma, on Saturday after the state supreme court refused to intervene on behalf of residents who claimed holding the event inside a 19,000-seat arena posed a serious risk for spreading the coronavirus.
A three-judge panel said Friday the residents who filed suit to stop the rally had failed to provide a legal argument for the court to override the approvals of state and local officials. The BOK Center was granted permission under Oklahoma guidelines for businesses to operate during the pandemic, which recommend face masks but don’t require they be worn.
Businesses near the arena and residents with health issues claimed the event posed a serious risk to public health just as Oklahoma is reporting a rise in coronavirus cases. Rally organizers said they will issue face masks to all who enter the arena, taking each person’s temperature and providing hand sanitizers, though the Trump campaign also asked attendees to sign a liability waiver in case they get sick.
“It’s going to cause, without a doubt, the spreading of the virus,” said Clark Brewster, an attorney representing the businesses and individuals. “Even the Trump campaign is requiring everyone to sign a release, knowing that there’s a risk. It’s medically conclusive that if someone leaves there having contracted the virus and goes to work, it’s going to spread and kill people.”
Brewster said the plaintiffs had hoped to get the rally postponed until August.
Trump spokeswoman Kayleigh McEnany said during Friday’s press briefing that she wouldn’t be wearing a mask at the rally.
The lawsuit was filed in state court on Tuesday, but when the judge assigned to hear the case refused to take up the matter immediately, the plaintiffs asked the Supreme Court to get involved.
Lawyers for the company that manages events at the BOK Center said in written responses to the lawsuit that the venue is following state and federal recommendations.
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