FRANKFORT, Ky. (April 29, 2020) – Gov. Andy Beshear on Wednesday laid out the state’s plan to gradually reopen business activities while continuing to keep Kentuckians safe from the novel coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19).
The Governor unveiled a tentative reopening schedule for a variety of businesses allowed to resume operations. However, he cautioned that in all cases, it will not be business as usual and will require adherence to the 10 rules to reopening, along with industry specific requirements.
“We’ve got to do this right. I believe we can do this right,” Gov. Beshear said. “When we phase back in to work, remember, you don’t need an in-person meeting. Use the telephone. And now that we are starting to open up health care, see your doctor if you need to.”
This week, Kentucky began the phased reopening of health care services as the first step under Gov. Beshear’s Healthy at Work initiative, which set out public health benchmarks for reopening Kentucky’s economy. These benchmarks closely follow the White House’s Guidelines for Reopening America.
On Wednesday, Gov. Beshear said that as long as Kentucky keeps up the fight against the coronavirus with promising results, the following business sectors are in line to restart:
- May 11 – Manufacturing, construction, vehicle and vessel dealerships, professional services (at 50% of pre-outbreak capacity), horse racing (without spectators), pet grooming and boarding
- May 20 – Retail, houses of worship
- May 25 – Social gatherings of no more than 10 people, barbers, salons, cosmetology businesses and similar services
“We were able to come to an agreement yesterday with Churchill Downs. They will start accepting horses and people on the backside of the track May 11,” said Gov. Beshear.
He said that for May 20, houses of worship would be allowed in-person services at a reduced capacity and that everything is contingent on being able to do social distancing, cleaning, sanitation and other accommodations.
“A crowd is still going to be a dangerous thing until we are further along in defeating this virus,” Gov. Beshear said. “It’s something we need to continue to avoid.”
Not reopening yet
The Governor said that a couple of industries and businesses are not quite ready to open, which include restaurants, gyms, movie theaters, campgrounds, youth sports, summer camps, day cares (except for essential health care workers) and public pools.
“Another that we want to be in Phase 2 is gyms. Later, but not in Phase 1: movie theaters, campgrounds and youth sports. We hope in this summer, and we don’t know if it will be in June or perhaps early July, we hope that we will be able to do some youth sports,” the Governor said.
Healthy at Work reopening process
During the Healthy at Work phases, the Department for Public Health will evaluate individual businesses’ ability to safely reopen. Industry groups and trade associations are encouraged to communicate with and gather input from their membership to develop and submit reopen proposals on behalf of their members. Individual businesses may submit via the online reopen form. All proposals will be evaluated according to White House guidelines and other public health criteria. This step will ensure that Kentucky businesses are able to comply with public health protocols and CDC guidelines.
Emergency Management Center
Gov. Beshear delivered Wednesday’s news conference from the Kentucky Emergency Management Center in Frankfort. He emphasized the work the center is taking on in organizing efforts to fight the coronavirus pandemic and introduced Michael Dossett, director of the division of Emergency Management.
“We are currently at Level 3 for this operation. We have about 100 people working this incident seven days a week,” Dossett said. “In this event, we are in support of the Governor, Department of Public Health, the Kentucky National Guard and every Cabinet in state government is represented here at the Emergency Operations Center. We are supporting all 120 counties with managing resources they need during this pandemic event.”
The Governor urged Kentuckians to fill up all available testing slots at multiple sites throughout the commonwealth. Anyone can now sign up for the free COVID-19 testing at many, but not all, of the sites. For the latest information on drive-through testing, visit kycovid19.ky.gov.
He also highlighted new testing options available across the state, including through the Oldham County Health Department (sign up on their website), Buffalo Trace District Health Department (sign up by calling 606-564-9447) as well as sites serving Jessamine, Pendleton and Owen counties.
Gov. Beshear said mass testing is underway at the Green River Correctional Complex.
He said that as of this afternoon, approximately 250 tests have been conducted. The entire prison, staff and inmates, will be tested by Friday afternoon.
The Department of Corrections has also started to update their website daily at approximately 6 p.m. with confirmed COVID-19 cases by institution, including the key implemented initiatives.
As of 5 p.m. April 29, Gov. Beshear said there were at least 4,539 coronavirus cases in Kentucky, 184 of which were newly confirmed.
Unfortunately, Gov. Beshear also reported 10 new deaths Wednesday, raising the state’s toll to 235 deaths related to the virus. Today’s totals for cases and deaths include one that is being listed as a “probable case.”
The deaths include a 96-year-old man and a 101-year-old woman from Grayson County; a 94-year-old woman from Hopkins County; a 94-year-old man from Jackson County; four men, ages 58, 72, 84 and 94, and a 66-year-old woman from Jefferson County; and a 56-year-old man from Warren County.
At least 1,668 Kentuckians have recovered from the virus.