By State Rep. Logan Phillips
We’re living in a very different society today than we were last month or even last week. As a result, many Oklahomans and District 24 constituents have been affected, whether by reduced hours, unemployment, or significantly lower business due to state, county and city mandates. Your elected officials and I are working to develop ways to support Oklahomans in this incredibly trying times.Logan Phillips
Local economies will take a hit as a result of this pandemic, and it’s important to support our neighborhood and our communities. I encourage my District 24 constituents to reach out to your local charities, public schools, and community organizations. Find those who are the most vulnerable and make a phone call. Isolation and loneliness are going to be detrimental for our communities. Now is a great opportunity to share with others that you care and are thinking of them. Call your elders, help your neighbors and work together.
For the business owners in our community, there are also federal resources available if you are struggling. The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) is a federal organization that backs small business lending programs. They have revamped their efforts in response to the effects of COVID-19.
Governor Stitt announced Friday that small businesses in all 77 counties may apply for low-interest disaster loans from the SBA. There will be a variety of small business loans available to businesses affected by COVID-19, but eligibility and other details are still being finalized by federal officials. More info on the Economic Injury Disaster Loan Program is available at
If your business is experiencing a negative impact due to COVID-19, report damages to to prepare to receive federal assistance. Nearly 3,000 Oklahoma businesses have already reported damages through this website. We must protect our economies in our rural towns. When business shut their doors to protect our community, we must support them in every way possible so they open them back up.
Many people, both part- and full-time, have seen a reduction in their hours or have been laid off as a result of company responses, reductions and closures to COVID-19. The State has resources available to help you file for unemployment benefits during this time, and I would encourage those of you affected in this way to consider doing so.
Any employee who finds themselves without a job because of actions taken by their employer in response to this virus can apply for unemployment benefits through the Oklahoma Employment Securities Commission. On Saturday, Governor Stitt issued an executive order to waive the requirement that people wait a week after being laid off to file initial claims.
While receiving unemployment benefits, claimants are required to be actively seeking new employment. They must register at within seven days of filing their claim. However, people filing because of a temporary furlough or a reduction in hours are not required to meet these job-search requirements.
Oklahomans in need of information about unemployment benefits can go to the OESC’s website,, which offers online claim filing, as well as answers to frequently asked questions. Claimants will need to provide certain information, including Social Security number and 18-month employment history.
People unable to file online can call (405) 525-1500 or (800) 555-1554, and those who are hearing-impaired can call (866) 284-6695. However, due to the number of inquiries, there are long waits on the phone.
This is a confusing and uncertain time for everybody, and I don’t have all the answers, but I will help you find the answers and solutions you need to keep you and your family secure and safe during this outbreak. This situation continues to develop and is likely to continue for several months, but if we take the precautions now, we can slow community spread and prevent our hospitals from being overrun.
It is time for our community to come together, to work to protect those we love and the way of life we enjoy. If you need me, I am available. The Capitol may be closed, but I am always working.
Stay home, wash your hands, call your loved ones and remain positive.
We are Oklahomans and we will overcome anything thrown at us.
Rep. Logan Phillips, a Republican, represents District 24 in the Oklahoma House of Representatives, which includes Hughes, Okfuskee and Okmulgee Counties.