Noted evangelist Pat Robertson isn’t the only one wanting to see the coronavirus as God’s will at work. The governor of Oklahoma is now calling on President Trump to declare the coronavirus pandemic an “act of God: — if for a more practical reason: to help oil-producing states weather the pandemic.
Governor J. Kevin Stitt is trying to contend with a crude-oil glut that caused futures prices to close below $0 last week for the first time. Declaring an “act of God” would allow oil companies to stop production without risking the subsequent cancellation of land leases, Stitt said.
“Over-production of oil continues to threaten the economy,” Stitt said in a letter to Trump posted on Twitter on April 25.
U.S. production reached a record-high of close to 13 million barrels per day late in 2019, but the COVID-19 outbreak has cut global consumption by a whopping 20 to 30 percent.
Last week, Stitt announced a plan to begin reopening businesses that were closed in an effort to slow the spread of the virus. Beginning May 1, the move will allow businesses like barbershops, hair and nail salons, pet groomers and spas to reopen, while others can reopen within 10 days.
Stitt’s plan is contingent on businesses practicing social distancing and employees and customers must wear masks if they are within six feet of each other.
State Medical Association President Dr. George Monks said the governor is moving too fast.
Earlier this month, Oklahoma State Capitol saw lines of cars and protesters demonstrating against businesses being forced to close during the pandemic.