By Jacqueline Pitts, The Bottom Line
FRANKFORT, Ky. — As the first phase of reopening many healthcare entities began on Monday, Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear said he expects to see some broader reopening in other industries beginning May 11. This will, however, require every Kentuckian to wear a mask outside their home and in their place of work.
At Beshear’s daily press conference on Monday, Kentucky Public Health Commissioner Steven Stack said all phases of reopening healthcare facilities will look different, and it is important to start in this area to ensure the system can handle increased traffic. He noted that Kentuckians will all be increasing their contacts as reopening occurs in all sectors, and emphasized it is crucial to start that process in a safe and controlled environment.
Phase one for healthcare facilities includes fever and COVID-19 screenings before entering, new check-in procedures (including call ahead registration, waiting in the car rather than a waiting room, and physical barriers in the offices), enhanced sanitizing of facilities, and an expectation that all people are masked to prevent any spread. View details of all phases of healthcare reopening with dates here.
Stack noted that all phases are subject to roll back or delay should the state sees a new surge in COVID-19 cases.
Beshear said the plan to begin reopening other industries beginning May 11 will be contingent upon the results of this first test of reopening.
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The governor stated at that time the state will be asking that every person in every business wear a mask. This includes businesses that begin to reopen in May and any essential business that has remained open over the last six weeks. He noted work environments can’t be the same when the state sees a return to work and encouraged businesses to take steps like spreading out employees and the continued use of telework as much as possible.
Beshear also said the state continues to work to increase testing capacity and hopes to have enough that if a temperature check shows an employee has a fever, a test can be made available immediately and the process can begin with contact tracing and other necessities if the individual does test positive.
Along with all individuals wearing a mask in their workplace, Beshear said starting May 11 all Kentuckians should expect to need to wear a mask anywhere outside their home. He stated he knows it is a big change and will look and feel strange for many but it is what’s needed to prevent the spread of this virus.