(Oklahoma City, OK) Gov. Kevin Stitt on Thursday signed an executive order to suspend the one-week waiting period before unemployment benefits can be paid. “The requirement that an individual be unemployed for a waiting period of one (1) week before benefits are paid is hereby waived so long as this order remains in effect,” the executive order states. Due to concerns surrounding the COVID-19 coronavirus, several cities, including Oklahoma City, closed entertainment and fitness venues and restricted restaurants to takeout or delivery options only. The state Board of Education also voted to authorize all schools to be closed through April 6. As of yesterday, 44 people have tested positive for the virus in Oklahoma. 

The COVID-19 outbreak could have a profound effect on Oklahoma’s state budget. Gov. Kevin Stitt said Wednesday the state could face a revenue shortfall in the current budget year due to the widespread economic impacts of the public health crisis.Stitt said he plans to dip into the state’s Rainy Day Fund, which is at an all-time high, to offset the possible revenue shortfall this year and help balance the fiscal year 2021 budget.