Senate Review: Three-phase opening begins
April 29, 2020
The governor released a three-phase plan on Wednesday to reopen the state, which will have an immediate impact on businesses across District 19. The plan is based on the scientific modeling from public health experts and will be rolled out in phases to reduce the risk of a surge in cases.
The first phase began on Friday, April 24th, when personal care businesses like hair salons, barber shops, spas, nail salons and pet groomers were able to reopen for business. It’s important to remember that although these businesses were able to open their doors, things are not necessarily “business as usual.” These businesses should still be taking precaution to maintain social distancing between customers, wear masks if social distancing is not possible, and follow Centers for Disease Control guidelines for health safety.
Still part of phase one is the reopening of restaurants, movie theaters, sporting venues and gyms that will happen on May 1, however they still must follow recommended social distancing and sanitation protocols. Places of worship will also be able to reopen if they leave every other row or pew open and still adhere to CDC guidelines.
If hospital and case numbers remain at a manageable rate for our hospitals, the state will move to phase two, which will tentatively begin on May 15 with the reopening of organized sports activities.
It’s important to remember that although these businesses and activities have plans to reopen, it doesn’t necessarily mean everything will go back to normal. I have a feeling things will be much different for quite some time with continued social distancing and increased sanitation protocols.
Tens of thousands of Oklahomans have lost their jobs due to the COVID-19 pandemic. By opening our businesses back up, we will hopefully get our hard-working Oklahomans back on the job.
The Board of Equalization also met this past week and officially certified a nearly $417 million revenue failure for the 2020 budget cycle. The Legislature previously passed measures to move money from the state’s savings to backfill the budget shortfall. We remain committed to ensuring state agency and core service operations remain stable during these uncertain times.
I met in both the education and general government committees this week where we heard and approved 18 executive nominations to various boards and posts across the state. We hope to complete all executive nominations by the end of next week.
The mobile blood drive in Blackwell on April 20 was very successful. There will be another drive in Burlington on April 28, and several more across the district in May. I will keep you updated as details emerge.
Finally, please don’t forget to fill out the census for your household, if you haven’t already. You can visit 2020census.gov or call 844-330-2020 to complete the questionnaire over the phone. It’s important we count every Oklahoman living in our state so we can receive our fair share of billions of dollars in federal funding for important core services.
Please reach out if there is anything I can help you with during this time. You can contact me via email at [email protected] or by phone at 405-521-5630.