Unemployment claims continue record climb, as state weighs rollbacks of COVID-19 measures

Oklahoma Secretary of Commerce and Workforce Development Sean Kouplen said there is currently a "healthy tug-of-war" in Gov. Kevin Stitt's administration between businesspeople, who want the state to reopen immediately, and the health experts who say to wait.
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As unemployment continues record rise, state works to fix claim system unprepared for surge

"The numbers are so stunning, there’s nothing to compare it with historically. I just wouldn’t feel safe to characterize it as this is high as it’s going to go," said Lynn Gray, economic research and analysis director for OESC.
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Tulsa QuikTrip store employee dies of coronavirus, company says in email

There have been at least 51 deaths in Oklahoma so far connected to the novel coronavirus, but Sauz’s death is an outlier — he was 22 years old, not in an age group considered most susceptible to the fatal effects of the virus.
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Retail giant Hobby Lobby to furlough most of its employees, close most operations nationwide

The craft store chain announced it was ending emergency leave pay for employees and suspending the use of company-provided paid time off benefits during the furloughs in order “to allow our furloughed employees" to take full advantage of the pandemic unemployment benefits.
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Unemployment claims in Oklahoma skyrocket in response to COVID-19 pandemic, newly released data shows

Oklahoma Secretary of Commerce and Workforce Development Sean Kouplen warned some employers may face difficulty rehiring lower-wage workers, since an upcoming increase in unemployment benefits could mean a significant income bump.
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As Governor’s order for non-essential business closures spreads statewide, thousands request exemptions or clarification

Asked whether the number of positive cases would be lower had the initial March 24 order extended to all counties, Stitt responded “I don’t think there is any way to speculate on that.”
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A day after closing Oklahoma stores, Hobby Lobby begins worker layoffs

Hobby Lobby employees told The Frontier that 32 employees in the company’s art and creative department were given notice on Friday that their jobs had been terminated.
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Hobby Lobby shuts down stores across Oklahoma, many employees face pay cuts

On Wednesday, Oklahoma City employees were told the warehouse and corporate offices would be shut down for at least two weeks, according to employees.
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Hobby Lobby CEO urges employees to ‘pray for our health,’ won’t shut down stores

Memos obtained by The Frontier also show that Hobby Lobby CEO David Green did not begin asking its employees at Hobby Lobby's executive office to begin “social distancing” until last Thursday, days after the city had shut down dine-in-only restaurants, gyms and entertainment venues to stop the virus's spread.
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Answering your COVID-19 questions

We know you have questions related to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic in Oklahoma, and we're doing our best to get you answers.
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