LEXINGTON, Ky. — Lexington mayor Linda Gorton and Luther Deaton, chairman, president and CEO of Central Bank, forwarded a blueprint Friday for Lexington’s economic recovery to Gov. Andy Beshear.
“Our economy was strong before this pandemic struck, and today we are taking the first step to recover that strength,” Gorton said. “We have outlined a gradual, responsible path back to the workplace.”
Deaton said, “My many years of experience in Lexington give me a great deal of confidence in our economy. We are taking it slowly, but we are on our way back.”
Gorton and Deaton thanked 132 community members for representing the city’s major economic sectors, who put together a total of 330 recommendations for reopening the economy. The report was compiled over a two-week period and included 33 committee meetings. Approximately 1,100 citizens watched as the meetings were held on-line and were open to the public.
Gorton said it is important to remember that Lexington citizens made it possible to begin reopening the economy by staying healthy at home. “Our citizens followed the social distancing guidelines and stayed home,” Gorton said. “We need to remember that those guidelines are still important as we begin the transition to being healthy at home.”
Getting back to work is very important to everyone, and very important to our City, Gorton said. In February, prior to the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic here on March 6, the Lexington/Fayette County jobless rate was 3.1%.
Beginning the week of March 8, unemployment numbers began to increase to levels not seen in almost 100 years. More than 44,000 Lexington residents, over 25% of the civilian workforce, have filed initial unemployment insurance claims since the beginning of March.
The 50-plus page Lexington Blueprint for Economic Recovery report features sections on Agriculture and Equine; Education; Entrepreneurship, Small Business and Technology; Faith-Based; Government and Economic Development; Healthcare; Non-Profit, Arts and Culture; Professional Services, Finance, Headquarters, Business Industry and Services; Airport, Transportation, and Cargo; Distillery and Craft Beer; Equine Tourism; Hotels and Convention Centers; Restaurants and Bars; Retailers; Tourism Attractions; University and High School Athletics.