Gov. Andy Beshear is moving forward with reopening non-essential parts of Kentucky’s economy during the coronavirus pandemic, saying that he still believes the virus has “plateaued” in the state.
Beshear announced that starting on May 11, businesses in the following industries will be allowed to reopen: manufacturing, construction, professional services, car and boat dealers, pet grooming and boarding and horse racing.
Previously, Beshear had said the state would have to show a 14-day decline in coronavirus cases, and significantly expand its testing and contact tracing capabilities, in order to start easing restrictions. That was in line with White House recommendations. Kentucky has not yet shown a consistent decline in cases.
Beshear said as businesses reopen, they will have to follow safety requirements to help prevent spread of the disease, like temperature checks, and allowing people to telework if they can.
“Remember, if you have people coming in just to come in, and the coronavirus spreads, and we do contact tracing, it may send multiple people into self-quarantine,” Beshear said.
Horse racing tracks will not be allowed to have fans in attendance.
There were 184 new coronavirus cases on Wednesday, for a total of 4,539. There have been 235 deaths associated with the virus in Kentucky.
Beshear said that starting on May 20, non-essential retail businesses will be able to reopen to in-person traffic, and houses of worship will be allowed to hold services, though Beshear said they will likely only allow a limited number of people to be in the building at a time.
Finally, Beshear said that on May 25, as long as the state hasn’t experienced a spike in cases, Kentuckians will be allowed to gather in groups of 10 or fewer, and businesses like barbers, hair dressers and cosmetologists would be allowed to provide services again.
“We want you to know that we think this is possible, but it’s all contingent on all of us doing this right. On making sure that we don’t see a spike in the virus,” Beshear said.
Several businesses and industries have not been included in Beshear’s roll out, including restaurants and day care.
When asked how people who were required to go back to work would manage without child care, Beshear said he hopes businesses wouldn’t do that to employees who don’t have someone to look after their kids.
“That’s the hard piece of this,” Beshear said. “What I’d say is that it’s unfortunately an issue with numbers; we can’t do this at all if we open a daycare right now. It’s not fair, and it’s hard, but if we open a daycare right now then we would see a spike that would ultimately set us back.”
Other industries Beshear mentioned that don’t have a timeline for reopening are gyms, movie theaters, campgrounds, youth sports, summer camps, and public pools.
Beshear said the entire roll out could be paused if businesses can’t follow the requirements, or if the state has as spike in cases.
“I’m not going to let us have that spike. When we see it coming, we will do what we have to to adjust,” Beshear said.