Facilities like gyms, salons, movie theaters, concert venues, sporting event facilities, and others are the next to be closed in an effort to promote social distancing because of the coronavirus.
In a press conference on Tuesday afternoon, Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear announced those facilities will have to close by Wednesday at 5 pm ET.
He stated businesses like grocery stores, pharmacies, gas stations, banks, hotels, auto repair, hardware, vets, warehouses, and some others can remain open. Beshear warned that if people do not continue to follow the social distancing guidelines that have been laid out, things will have to evaluated further in these areas.
The new restrictions come after Beshear announced Monday the necessity to close all daycare centers by Friday. Schools have also been closed down for at least two weeks but Beshear told Kentuckians to prepare for those closures to be extended.
As for what is being done by the General Assembly as the 2020 session continues, Beshear said he believes the legislature should either pass a budget and adjourn as soon as possible or go ahead and adjourn to be called back at a later date to deal with the state’s budget and any coronavirus-related legislation. He said no other bills should be considered at this time.
Other measures that have been taken at the state level include:
- Restaurants and bars across the state will be closed to in-person service and will instead focus on restaurant drive-thru and delivery service.
- The waiting period for unemployment benefits has been waived for those who are losing their jobs because of COVID-19 and any work search requirements will also be waived while the state of emergency is in effect. Read more about what to do about unemployment benefits here.
- An executive order has been issued to waive copays, deductibles, cost-sharing and diagnostic testing fees for private insurance and state employees. The order also asks providers to expand their networks to patients that may go outside their normal providers. Those without insurance will be able to receive testing in Kentucky.
- The governor is sending a request to the federal government to prompt the Small Business Association to give federal loans to small businesses in Kentucky impacted by the coronavirus.
- Pharmacies will be allowed to refill prescriptions for up to 30 days to ensure those vulnerable communities or those who need to self-isolate will have their needed prescriptions.
- Kentucky Employers’ Mutual Insurance(KEMI) will provide wage replacement benefits for first responders and medical personnel who have been quarantined for COVID-19.
- Strong precautions are being taken to protect the state’s most vulnerable populations by limiting visitation to senior care and long-term care facilities.
- It has been recommended businesses utilize telecommuting and allow employees to work from home if possible and Kentuckians have been advised to cancel all community gatherings.