A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Governor Andy Beshear outlines road ahead for gradual reopening of Kentucky’s economy

By Tom Latek
Kentucky Today

Gov. Andy Beshear on Wednesday unveiled the first parts of his plan to re-open Kentucky’s economy, in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, including dates and types of entities.

The Governor moved his daily press briefing from the Capitol to the Emergency Operations Center at the Boone National Guard Center.

Before they can re-open, he said there are 10 prerequisites all businesses must meet. They include:

Gov. Andy Beshear speaks from a new venue, the Emergency Operations Center at the Boone National Guard Center. He said he’ll be doing his daily press briefing from there for the next several days. (KET screen shot)

• Continue telework for some employees wherever possible.

• A phased-in return to work, including plans to spread people out

• On-site temperature and health checks when people arrive.

• Universal masking of employees, especially if they are face-to-face with customers.

• Closing common areas, such as break rooms and lunchrooms

• Enforce social distancing.

• Limit face-to-face meetings among employees. Use the telephone instead.

• Have sanitizer and hand-washing stations.

• Special accommodations for employees who are park of the vulnerable population.

• A testing plan if an employee or other person comes in with a fever.

The first group of businesses will be allowed to open May 11 under these conditions. Among them: manufacturing, construction, vehicle and boat dealerships, professional services where 50 percent of employees can return, horse racing with no fans, and pet grooming and boarding.

May 20 is the reopening for two more groups: in-person church services at a reduced capacity and retail businesses.

The third lifting of restrictions is May 25. Included it that are social gatherings of ten people or less, barbershops, hair salons, cosmetology and similar services.

Not included in these first groups of businesses are restaurants, gyms, movie theatres, campgrounds, summer camps, youth sports, public swimming pools and daycares, due to social distancing concerns.

“I hope people will stick with us and work with us,” Beshear said, “to see this as a way forward, to truly see steps being taken, which they are. I hope everybody also sees that these are cautious steps that are going to be done with strict compliance, and I would not be suggesting these if I did not think that we could not do them safely.”

He added, “If it proves that we can’t do any of them safely, it is always subject pause. We cannot allow ourselves to have a second spike.”

The Governor reported 184 new cases of the coronavirus in Kentucky, along with ten more deaths. That brings the pandemic totals to at least 4,539 cases and 235 deaths.

Of the 10 deaths reported today, five were from Jefferson County, two from Grayson County and one each from Hopkins, Jackson and Warren counties.

The long-term care facilities such as nursing homes continue to be struck the hardest by the coronavirus. There have now been 703 cases involving residents, 302 staff cases and 119 resident deaths, along with one staff member who died from the disease.

A University of Kentucky study released on Wednesday said restrictions imposed by Beshear reduced the number of anticipated cases of COVID-19 by 90 percent.

Beshear responded, “This indicates Healthy at Home gets the credit. I don’t get the credit, everybody out there, every Kentuckians gets the credit for willing to do what it takes. I don’t know of any other state where people have come together in the way that we have seen, followed a set of restrictions, and stayed calm in the midst of a worldwide pandemic.”

He added, “Now we have to keep it going forward, that’s our challenge. As we change the restrictions a little to be healthy at work, if we can follow them just as well, we can have those good results.”

For the latest information on the coronavirus pandemic in Kentucky, drive-thru testing locations, guidance from state and federal health officials, and restrictions that are in place, go to the website, kycovid19.ky.gov.

Those without internet access or who may need more information and guidance can call the hotline at 800-722-5725.

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