Beshear announces closure of all non-life-sustaining businesses as Kentucky reaches 163 positive COVID-19 cases

Coronavirus virus outbreak and coronaviruses influenza background as dangerous flu strain cases as a pandemic medical health risk concept with disease cells as a 3D render

After announcing 39 new coronavirus cases on Tuesday, bringing the state’s total to 163, Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear issued a new executive order Wednesday that will limit some businesses to telework and “minimum business operations” beginning Thursday night.

Beshear said the next two weeks will be critical to the fight against the coronavirus and stated it is important to buckle down even further on in-person traffic to businesses.

The businesses that can stay open to the public, defined in the order as “life-sustaining retail,” include: grocery stores, drug stores, pharmacies, banks, hardware stores, agricultural operations, gas stations, and others.

While these types of retail businesses can remain open, the order says that they should use delivery and curbside services, telework, and other available resources to comply with the CDC guidelines to the fullest extent possible.

Under the order, all Kentucky businesses are permitted to operate via telework and remain open for what are defined as “minimum basic operations.” These operations are defined as the “minimum necessary activities to maintain the value of a business’s inventory, preserve the condition of the business’s physical plant and equipment, ensure security, process payroll and employee benefits, facilitate telecommuting, and other related functions.”

As for the other life-sustaining businesses permitted to continue operating under the order, the following categories are outlined:

  • Life-sustaining retail including hardware stores and businesses that sell electrical, plumbing, and heating materials, agriculture supply and equipment stores, medical product supply and equipment, and stores that supply first responders and other critical government and healthcare workers.
  • Businesses that manufacture, produce, process, and cultivate food, beverage, and agriculture items
  • Media including newspapers, television, radio, and others
  • Gas stations and businesses needed for transportation including auto supply, auto repair, construction equipment, boar repair, etc.
  • Organizations that provide charitable and social services such as food banks and others providing shelter and other necessities of life for economically disadvantaged
  • Financial services including banks and credit unions, mortgage loan companies, check cashers, payday lending, and securities institutions
  • Those running a business dealing with housing, building, and construction can remain open for construction and maintenance of residential, commercial, or governmental structures, plumbing, electrical work, cleaning and janitorial work, security, painting, landscaping, moving and relocation services, and more
  • Laundry services including laundromats, dry cleaners, industrial laundry service, and laundry service providers
  • Restaurants for consumption for off-premises
  • Businesses that sell, manufacture or supply computers, audio and video electronics, household appliances; IT and telecom equipment; hardware, paint, and flat glass; electrical, plumbing and heating equipment; sanitary equipment; personal hygiene products; food, food additives, ingredients and components; medical and orthopedic equipment; optic and photography equipment; diagnostics, food and beverage, chemicals, soaps and detergents; and firearm and ammunition suppliers and retailers for the purpose of safety and security
  • Transportation services including forms of private, public and commercial transportation
  • Companies that manufacture, distribute, and supply in critical industries such as pharmaceutical, technology, biotechnology, healthcare, chemicals and sanitization, waste pickup and disposal, agriculture, food and beverage, transportation, energy, steel and steel products, petroleum and fuel, mining, mineral extraction, construction, national defense, communications, as well as products used by other life-sustaining businesses as designated in the order
  • Home-based care and services
  • Professional services such as legal, accounting, insurance, and real estate. The order states professional service firms must implement telework and remote work to the fullest extent possible
  • Hotels and motels
  • Funeral services
  • Critical labor union functions that ensure the health and well-being of members

To see the specific businesses and services included each category, access the full executive order here.

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Jacqueline Pitts
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