Kentuckians must embrace a “new normal” when state begins to reopen, Beshear says

Benchmarks Kentucky will be looking to accomplish before reopening many parts of the economy were laid out by Gov. Andy Beshear at a press conference on Friday evening.

After the White House released a plan on Thursday with guidelines for states to consider as they seek to reopen, Beshear covered many of the points from the federal government and compared them to what his administration has been considering in recent weeks.

The federal plan calls for multiple phases and goals for states to reach before reopening their economies. Beshear said Kentucky will be looking to meet the following benchmarks in the coming weeks:

  • 14 days where cases are decreasing
  • Increased testing capacity and contact tracing
  • Personal protective equipment (PPE) availability
  • Ability to protect at-risk populations
  • Ability to social distance and follow Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines on large gatherings
  • Preparedness for possible future spike
  • Status of vaccine and treatment

Beshear stated also stated the state could see some restrictions in health care loosened before the end of April. Some Kentuckians are coming into the ER sicker than they would be normally because they are not visiting the doctor soon enough due to restrictions and fears over COVID-19.

The governor noted that, while the state will be working to get back to “normal” as soon as possible, the state’s new normal will mean changes for businesses and individuals across Kentucky to ensure public safety.

Following the point when Kentucky has accomplished many of the goals state officials lay out, the plan from the White House provides guidance for the first phase of opening the government could look like for individuals and businesses.

Individuals

  • Individuals should continue to practice good hygiene
  • People who feel sick should stay home
  • All vulnerable individuals should continue to shelter in place
  • All individuals, when in public, should maximize physical distance from others
  • All individuals should avoid gatherings of more than 10 people, unless precautionary measures can be strictly observed
  • Minimize non-essential travel and adhere to CDC guidelines regarding isolation following travel

Employers

  • Should continue to encourage telework
  • If possible, should return to work in phases
  • Close common areas
  • Minimize non-essential travel and adhere to CDC guidelines regarding isolation following travel
  • Strongly consider special accommodations for personnel who are members of a vulnerable population

Specific types of employers

  • Schools and organized youth activities that are currently closed should remain closed
  • Visits to senior living facilities and hospitals should still be prohibited
  • Large venues (sit-down dining, movie theaters, sporting venues, places of worship) can operate under strict physical distancing protocols
  • Elective surgeries can resume, as clinically appropriate, on an outpatient basis at facilities that adhere to CMS guidelines
  • Gyms can reopen if they adhere to strict physical distancing and sanitation protocols
  • Bars should remain closed

Stay tuned to The Bottom Line for updates on the COVID-19 pandemic and the status of re-opening.

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