KAM asks Beshear for official ‘essential business’ designation

Lee Lingo

Lee Lingo, the executive director of the Kentucky Association of Manufacturers, sent a letter to Gov. Andy Beshear’s office recently asking for official “essential business” designation for Kentucky manufacturers.

Here is the letter:

Governor Beshear,

Over 4,500 manufacturers call Kentucky home. They employ our citizens, they support our local communities, and today, they are facing a great unknown. These businesses, which range from a one-person shop to global companies with thousands of employees, are a key asset to our commonwealth.

During our current crisis, Kentucky manufacturers are stepping up. They are voluntarily making supplies and products to fight COVID-19, and some are already retooling their factories and making space to create products outside of their wheelhouse—all in the name of patriotism. While rising to the task of battling this pandemic, these businesses are taking every precaution to protect their employees, which are their most precious asset. The lives of Kentuckians are at stake, and we are taking the situation very seriously.

If we see the same shuttering of manufacturers in Kentucky as we have witnessed in other states, the supply chain for critical needs for infrastructure and COVID-19 resources will be adversely affected. We cannot battle this pandemic without the production of critical supplies and services, including respirators, masks, medical supplies, and protective equipment.

Therefore, we request your support for designating Kentucky manufacturing facilities, supply chains and their employees as “essential infrastructure” and “essential businesses” to assure clear, consistent and more uniformly aligned guidance to businesses as our state and nation responds to the COVID-19 pandemic. KAM recognizes that many of Kentucky’s manufacturers have already retooled, or are able and willing to retool, and are strictly adhering to CDC employer guidelines while responding to the current crisis. We ask that your office offer utmost flexibility in identifying essential and non-essential businesses during this time to allow manufacturers to fulfill their role battling this pandemic.

We are ready and willing to work together to support this effort and appreciate your urgent attention in order to keep Kentucky’s manufacturers open and operating safely during this national crisis.