Severity: Critical Alert

Transportation: Officials in Kentucky, US, announce plans to lift COVID-19 restrictions on multiple businesses between May 22 and July 1.

The locations affected by this alert are:

  • Louisville, Kentucky
  • Lexington, Kentucky
  • Paducah, Kentucky
  • Bowling Green, Kentucky
  • Owensboro, Kentucky

This alert began 13 May 2020 15:30 GMT and is scheduled to expire 22 May 2020 23:59 GMT.

  • Incident: COVID-19-related restrictions
  • Location(s): Kentucky (map)
  • Time Frame: Indefinite
  • Impact: Significant transport and business disruptions

Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear announced a tentative schedule to lift additional business restrictions between May 22 and July 1, as part of the commonwealth's Phase 2 of the economic reopening in response to coronavirus disease (COVID-19). Authorities had previously allowed the reopening of multiple businesses and services, starting on the following dates:

  • April 28: Nonemergency medical and dental procedures. Outpatient and ambulatory surgery and invasive procedures were allowed to resume May 6.
  • May 11: Manufacturing, distribution and supply chain businesses; construction; auto and vessel dealerships; office-based businesses at 50 percent of their maximum capacity; horse racing without spectators; pet care and grooming; and photography.
  • May 18: Government offices and agencies.
  • May 20: Funeral and memorial services and retail businesses, limiting the number of participants and customers to 33 percent their maximum capacity.

The tentative schedule for additional businesses and services to reopen is the following:

  • May 22: Dine-in services at restaurants, limited to 33 percent of its capacity indoors, or outdoor seating.
  • May 25: Personal care businesses, including hair salons, barber shops, and tanning salons.
  • June 1: Movie theaters, gyms and fitness centers, and bowling alleys.
  • June 11: Private and public campgrounds.
  • June 15: Childcare centers with reduced capacity, and outdoor low-contact youth sports.

Phase 3 of the economic reopening plan would start July 1 if COVID-19 activity continues to decrease. Companies in the food, media, security, transport, and critical infrastructure industries, including banks, pharmacies, fuel stations, and grocery stores, can continue to have in-person operations. Employees should continue to work from home in all businesses whenever possible. Authorities require businesses to stagger workers' shift, ensure social distancing, ensure face coverings and other necessary protective equipment for all workers, limit face-to-face interactions, and enhance sanitation procedures. Workers' health must be screened daily, and anyone showing symptoms must be sent home.

Travelers entering Kentucky are required to self-quarantine for 14 days since the time of their arrival, except for those working in essential businesses, those purchasing basic goods, or those who routinely move in and out of the state for work or residence reasons. People who have tested positive for COVID-19 are not allowed to enter Kentucky.

Significant transport and business disruptions are likely. Authorities will almost certainly keep additional security personnel deployed to assist in enforcing the measures. Officials could amend the order on short notice, depending on disease activity in the coming weeks.

Background and Analysis
The relaxation of some measures is likely to accelerate in the coming weeks; however, officials may reimpose restrictions or extended them further should the number of COVID-19 cases increase. COVID-19 is a viral respiratory disease caused by infection with the SARS-CoV-2 virus (previously known as 2019-nCoV). Symptoms occur 1-14 days following exposure (average of 3-7 days). These symptoms include fever, fatigue, cough, difficulty breathing, sometimes worsening to pneumonia and kidney failure - especially in those with underlying medical conditions. On March 11, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak a pandemic.

Strictly heed the instructions of authorities. Avoid all nonessential operations in areas impacted by the measures. Confirm appointments. Remain courteous and cooperative if approached and questioned by law enforcement officers.

Emphasize basic health precautions, especially frequent handwashing with soap and water, or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are unavailable. Practice good coughing/sneezing etiquette (i.e., covering coughs and sneezes with a disposable tissue, maintaining distance from others, and washing hands). There is no evidence that the influenza vaccine, antibiotics, or antiviral medications will prevent this disease, highlighting the importance of diligent basic health precautions.

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