Beshear prepares Kentucky for first phase of business reopening
By TOM LATEK
FRANKFORT, Ky. (KT) – Gov. Andy Beshear’s daily press briefing on Monday saw more information revealed about next week’s first phase of business reopenings. The first step of Phase 1 will include some additional non-life-sustaining businesses in these economic sectors: manufacturing, distribution, supply-chain, construction, vehicle and vessel dealerships, office-based businesses with 50 percent or less staff in office, photography, and horse-racing with no fans. Each business reopening must meet certain minimum requirements in addition to industry specific guidance. Businesses deemed life-sustaining, which have remained operating, will be expected to meet the minimum requirements no later than May 11, the first day the others can reopen. If any business in a sector being reopened cannot comply with the minimum requirements or industry-specific requirements, they must wait to reopen until they are able to do so or until some or all of these restrictions are lifted. To find out all the requirements for each specific sector that will be opening next week as well as the general guidelines, go to healthyatwork.ky.gov. More is on the horizon, Beshear said. “We hope to have a couple of things coming out in the next week to week and a half. First, a government reopening plan; we have healthcare and business, government would be next. Also, phase two, which will include things like restaurants in June.” The governor also reported 163 new cases of the coronavirus on Monday, bringing the total to 5,245 as well as eight additional deaths, making it 261 Kentuckians who have lost their lives since the pandemic began. Of the deaths, six were in Jefferson County, with one each in Hardin and Hopkins counties. Beshear noted some states have reopened some types of businesses more quickly and had this message for Kentuckians: “We’ve done a better job than just about all our surrounding states,” when it comes to flattening the curve. “Let’s not drive to other states just because they’re doing something earlier, if we think we have done it better.” Green River Correctional Complex in Central City continues to be hit hard, he said. “We expect to have up to 120 more positives in that facility. And we believe we are going to have one additional death to be reported on Tuesday.” There have been positive cases in only one other state facility, according to Beshear, and that’s the Roederer Correctional Complex in Oldham County, with only one inmate case and one staff member. Long-term care facilities have now seen 812 cases of the coronavirus among residents, 321 involving staff and 139 deaths, all but two were residents. Medical and nursing school students have volunteered their services to help the staff members at the long-term care centers, and Public Health Commissioner Dr. Steven Stack says 40 or more remain deployed at different facilities. Beshear said those students have really answered the call. “I could never have predicted as governor that I’d be walking into this situation. They could never have predicted in going to medical school or a nursing program they would either. But look at what they’re doing.” The second phase of the health care reopening is also set to start Wednesday. It allows health care providers to begin offering non-urgent outpatient procedures, such as colonoscopies, eye surgeries and heart stents. Most health care providers, including chiropractors and dentists, were allowed to reopen at limited capacities last week.