Beshear details how Ky. businesses will reopen with precautions

Posted at 4:29 PM, Apr 28, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-28 19:54:33-04

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FRANFORT, Ky. -- Gov. Andy Beshear is giving an update on coronavirus around the commonwealth and plans to gradually reopen health centers and businesses at his daily press briefing Tuesday.

Earlier Tuesday, Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron filed a motion in federal court against the travel ban Beshear ordered last month, saying it "unconstitutionally infringes on the rights of Kentuckians to travel across state lines."

Watch a replay of Beshear's briefing in the player below.

“Kentuckians have a fundamental and constitutional right to freely travel from one state to another,” Cameron said in a news release Tuesday. “While the spread of COVID-19 requires Kentuckians to follow CDC recommendations for social distancing and use caution when traveling, the Governor’s order is overly broad by banning nearly all travel. If the Governor is going to ask Kentuckians to surrender constitutional right to freely travel as part of the fight against COVID-19, such a restriction must be narrowly tailored. The sweeping scope of his travel ban, if left unchecked, creates a dangerous precedent.”

Cameron also joined a lawsuit against Beshear which argues the governor's orders to restrict large gatherings, including religious services, infringes on Kentuckians' First Amendment rights.

Beshear responded at his press briefing Tuesday, saying "no one is singled out" by his orders to ban mass gatherings or travel across state lines.

"I'm not trying to set rules that are controversial. I'm trying to set rules that save lives," Beshear said.

On Tuesday, Beshear unveiled new guidelines for businesses reopening later this month, including extending teleworking wherever possible, limiting meetings and administering onsite temperature checks for those returning to work in-person. Healthy at Work is "beginning to evaluate" exactly when businesses could safely reopen.

10 rules for reopening healthy at work.PNG

Beshear reiterated Tuesday that starting May 11, all Kentucky workers and customers inside essential businesses will be required to wear cloth masks. Beshear said N95 masks should be reserved for medical staff and first responders.

If a business is not masking, that can be grounds to temporarily shut down that business, Beshear said. Grocery stores and other forward-facing business can refuse to serve someone not wearing a mask.

Beshear reported 12 new virus-related deaths Tuesday, including six people from Northern Kentucky. So far, the state reports 224 virus-related deaths and one "probable" virus-related death.

Among the recent virus-related deaths was Lillian Press, who helped found Kentucky Educational Television and the Governor's Scholars Program for high schoolers across the Bluegrass state. She was 95 years old.

There were 230 new cases reported Tuesday, meaning 4,375 Kentuckians total have tested positive for COVID-19. Over 52,000 people have been tested for COVID-19, and 1,617 people have recovered from the virus.

Monday brought "Phase 1"of Kentucky’s gradual reopening, which leaves most consumer businesses closed but allows some non-emergency healthcare services to begin operating while observing social-distancing safeguards.

Health care practitioners are now allowed to resume non-urgent/emergent healthcare services, diagnostic radiology and lab services in hospital outpatient settings, healthcare clinics and medical offices, physical therapy settings, chiropractic offices and optometrist and dental offices (but with enhanced aerosol protections).

Every healthcare office that reopens must screen patients and employees for COVID-19 symptoms, have a stable supply of personal protective equipment and bar patients from receiving most visitors, among other provisions.

You can find more information on Kentucky's Phase 1 plans here.

Phase 2 ,which begins May 6, will allow outpatient surgery, ambulatory and invasive procedures to resume.

Phase 3 is scheduled to start May 13 and allows hospitals and care facilities to begin performing non-emergency surgeries and procedures at 50% of their pre-COVID-19-era patient volume.

Phase 4 begins May 27, when most of the restrictions on types of procedures and volume will be left to the facilities to determine. However, oversight and guidelines meant to ensure that capacity remains in the system will continue.