Severity: Critical Alert

Transportation: Officials in Kentucky, US, continue to allow multiple businesses and activities to reopen, lift travel restrictions from May 22.

The locations affected by this alert are:

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

This alert began 21 May 2020 16:20 GMT and is scheduled to expire 01 Jun 2020 23:59 GMT.

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

As of May 21, Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear continues to lift multiple businesses and movement restrictions as part of the commonwealth's Phase 2 of the economic recovery plan in response to coronavirus disease (COVID-19). Starting May 22, travelers entering Kentucky will not be required to self-quarantine, and gatherings of up to 10 people will be allowed.

Authorities confirmed the reopening of the following businesses and activities May 22-25:

  • 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, barbershops, and tanning salons.

Other businesses are scheduled to resume operations on the following dates:

  • June 1: Movie theaters, gyms and fitness centers, bowling alleys, auto track racing, and aquatic centers.
  • June 8: Museums, libraries, and aquariums.
  • June 11: Private and public campgrounds, Kentucky Horse Park.
  • June 15: Childcare centers with reduced capacity, and outdoor low-contact youth sports.

Authorities had previously allowed the reopening of multiple businesses and services:

  • 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 of their maximum capacity.

Phase 3 of the economic reopening plan will 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' shifts, ensure social distancing, 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.

Transport and business disruptions are likely. Authorities are likely to 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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