Oklahoma House Democratic Caucus Letter Urging Governor To Protect Grocery Stores

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Governor J. Kevin Stitt,

Now more than ever, Oklahomans are dependent on our state's tens of thousands of grocery, food retail, and food processing workers laboring 24 hours a day, seven days a week in Oklahoma. These front-line essential workers should be considered as extended first responders or emergency personnel.

Designating these workers as extending first responders or emergency personnel would allow them access to government services critically important to our state’s response to COVID-19 and recognition for the vital role they play during this crisis.

The temporary first responder or emergency personnel designation would bring funding for the following:

    Two Weeks Paid Leave
    Free Childcare
    Medical testing for the Coronavirus should it be needed
    Treatment for Coronavirus should it be needed
    Greater access to Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

If there were ever a time when Oklahomans need to band together for the benefit of everyone, now is that time. As elected officials, our first priority is to keep communities healthy and safe, and our essential workers deserve strong protections like those mentioned above to perform these vital jobs. We are asking you to help us do just that. Many major corporations are failing to strengthen their own policies for these workers. Oklahoma can—and should—be an example of how we serve our communities by working together to protect those who need it most.

If you’ll look just south of us, the state of Texas has recognized the essential work of these front-line workers. In Texas, extended benefits are available to them to continue serving their communities without having to choose between their health, the community’s health, and their own paycheck.

Oklahoma needs courageous leadership at this time. Designating these workers as temporary first responders or emergency personnel not only helps the employee, it helps protect Oklahoma. Food is never optional to a citizenry, and these individuals, regardless of personal safety, have put the state economy on their backs and have ensured that Oklahoma’s food supply chain stays intact. Now it's time for us to do our part to protect them, their families, and our communities.

Governor Stitt, today, we ask you to exercise your executive authority and recognize Oklahoma grocery, food retail, and food processing workers as temporary first responders or emergency personnel.


House Democratic Caucus