Restart Kentucky: Businesses re-opening with new guidelines

The economic impact that the novel coronavirus has caused is now being addressed as businesses begin to re-open with new restrictions.

According to a post on the London-Laurel County Chamber of Commerce website, through the Kentucky Chamber, Restart Kentucky is underway and will continue over the next few weeks.

Kentucky has already undergone some re-openings earlier this month with churches and places of worship on May 9 and construction, horse racing (without fans), manufacturing and distribution, office-based businesses at 50% capacity, pet grooming and boarding, photography and vehicle and vessel dealerships opening on Monday, May 11.

This week brings even more re-openings in Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear's Phase 2 and Phase 3 plans.

Wednesday brought the retail stores back to life - but at a 50% capacity. Funeral and memorial services were also re-instituted back into the "new normal" that has marked the COVID-19 pandemic.

Phase 2 of the Governor's plan for re-opening the state includes other businesses at a gradual rate.

On Friday, May 22, the out-of-state travel restrictions will be lifted and it will also bring the opening of restaurants, but only with one-third of their inside capacity and offering outdoor seating with social distancing.

Although Memorial Day falls on May 25 and many businesses closed for the holiday, the state will allow for 10-person gatherings and the opening of hair and nail salons, barber shops, massage therapy, tanning salons and tattoo parlors. This plan was listed in the Phase 1 of the Governor's plan.

June 1 marks the opening of movie theaters, fitness centers and bowling alleys, while both private and public campgrounds will open on June 11. The final part of Phase 2 comes on June 15 with the re-opening of child care centers - with reduced capacity and low-touch youth sports.

The final phase of the re-opening comes on July 1 at which time bars will be accessible and groups of 50 people will be permitted at social events.

The shutdown of businesses and industry hit Kentuckians hard, with the state's unemployment rate jumping from 4.7 percent in February to 5.8 percent in March. The U.S. Department of Labor listed more than 100,000 Kentuckians filed for unemployment in mid-April, according to an article in the Louisville Courier Journal. That number has fallen, however, for the week ending on April 25 - down by 12,000 from the previous week.

Although many businesses are re-opening, new guidelines are in place to ensure social distancing and safety precautions due to the coronavirus. That includes many workers wearing masks in their workplace and in the public as well as extensive sanitizing of facilities and frequent handwashing. Beshear has also encouraged anyone who goes out in public to wear masks to prevent further spread of the virus.

njohnson@sentinel-echo.com

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