Governor Sets Initial Dates For Reopening Kentucky

Coronavirus Update For Wednesday, April 29

Colorized image taken with an electron microscope of the Novel Coronavirus SARS-CoV-2019. (Image: NIAID).

Robert Moore

Herald Staff

[email protected]

At Wednesday’s briefing, Gov. Andy Beshear laid out his general plans for reopening Kentucky, including setting dates for when some businesses could reopen.

However, Beshear said the re-openings are based on business owners’ ability to follow 10 rules, which are based on the White House’s Guidelines for Reopening America.

The 10 rules are:

  • Continue telework where possible
  • Phased return to work
  • Onsite temperature/health checks
  • Universal masks and other necessary PPE
  • Close common areas
  • Enforce social distancing
  • Limit face-to-face meetings
  • Sanitizer/hand wash stations
  • Special accommodations
  • Testing plan

In addition to taking temperatures, businesses must be able to provide testing for anyone who shows up with a high temperature, the governor said. In order to open, businesses must meet all 10 rules as well as any industry-specific recommendations, the governor said.

Beshear also provided dates for when certain businesses may open.

May 11

Manufacturing including nonessential manufacturing.

Construction.

Vehicle and vessel dealerships.

Professional services. The governor said 50-percent of staff can return to work.

Horse racing. Racetracks, including Churchill Downs, can reopen but fans cannot attend races.

Dog grooming/boarding can reopen as long as they take measures to prevent person to person contact.

May 20

Retail—at reduced capacity

Houses of worship—in person services at reduced capacity

May 25

10-person social gatherings

Barbers, salons, cosmetology businesses and similar services

Gov. Beshear said reopening is contingent on there not being a spike in infections and on businesses being able to follow the restrictions.

“It’s all contingent in all of us doing this right,” he said.

Among the businesses that will not be reopening to the public in May are restaurants, gyms and movie theaters. Beshear was asked how mask recommendations—on May 11, all Kentuckians must wear masks in public—would work in restaurants when they were finally allowed to reopen their dining areas. He said his administration is working with trade groups on devising recommendations.

The governor said public schools and summer camps are not included in either phase I or II of the reopening plan. He said they were hoping to be able to do something in June. He said he hopes to be able to reopen daycares sometime in June, but they are not included in phase I because it’s impossible to maintain social distancing at daycare. He also said he hopes they can open some youth sports in July.

Beshear was asked about the President’s decision to use the Defense Production Act to order meat processing facilities to stay open. So far, 20 workers in meat and food processing have died from complications caused by the coronavirus and 5,000 meatpacking workers have either tested positive or have been forced to self-quarantine, according to the United Food and Commercial Workers.

“They’ve got to make sure these facilities are safe,” Beshear said Wednesday. “You can’t force people to go into a facility that isn’t safe.”

The governor and members of his administration have faced considerable criticism, including protests and lawsuits, for the actions they have taken to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

According to a new study from the University of Kentucky, Beshear’s “Healthy at Home” initiative helped to blunt the impact the disease has had on the commonwealth. According to the study, Kentucky would have had 10 times more COVID-19 cases and 2,000 more deaths if Beshear had not act so decisively.

State officials say they have tried to balance the needs of a functioning society with the need to keep people safe. Beshear said it was sometimes necessary to make hard choice up front in order to not have a worse outcome later on.

“You end up with a worse result,” Beshear said.

On Wednesday, the governor announced 184 new cases, bringing the state’s total to 4,539, including one probable case. So far, 1,668 have recovered. Beshear announced 10 new deaths, raising Kentucky’s total to 235, including one probable case.

Across the world, there are now 3.2 million confirmed cases with 227,300 deaths, according to worldometer.info. So far, 995,927 have recovered.

In the U.S., there are now over 1-million cases, with 19,960 new cases since yesterday. There have been 61,112 deaths, with 1,846 deaths since yesterday. In the U.S., 144,423 have recovered.

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