The Kentucky “Healthy At Work” Phased Reopening

Updated May 22, 2020, by Kathie McDonald-McClure, Partner, and Joseph Profancik, Summer Associate

As we previously reported, on May 11, 2020, Governor Andy Beshear began reopening sectors of Kentucky’s economy, in addition to the healthcare sector, that were closed due to the novel coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19) public health emergency (PHE). The reopening, called Healthy at Work, is a phased approach that is intended to guide businesses and healthcare providers through a “smart, safe and gradual” reopening during the continuing COVID-19 PHE. It is based on criteria set by public health experts and advice from industry experts. Each phase of Healthy at Work will be rolled out in steps to ensure the Commonwealth’s citizens can safely return to work while still protecting the most vulnerable Kentuckians.

Prior to the phased reopening of the non-healthcare sector, the Commonwealth began with “Healthy at Work for Healthcare Facilities,” a four-phase, gradual reopening of healthcare services that began on April 27, 2020. Phases I, II and III are now underway, with the latest phase beginning on May 13, 2020 with non-urgent/non-emergent inpatient procedures at 50% of pre-shutdown volume and inpatient visits limited to one visitor (except in nursing homes where visitors are still prohibited). For additional information, see the webpage for Healthy at Work for Healthcare Facilities.

Healthy at Work continues with a phased reopening of specific business and organizational sectors. However, pursuant to the Governor’s Executive Order of May 11, 2020, all entities in the Commonwealth shall comply with certain, in addition to industry specific, guidance, each entity reopening must meet certain “Minimum Requirements” attached to that Executive Order. While all entities should carefully review the specific requirements, in summary they are as follows:

As emphasized by the Governor, compliance with the above 10 Rules is essential to protect employees in all business and organizational sectors – both healthcare and non-healthcare – as well as to protect the individuals with whom employees may come into contact with both inside and outside of the work environment. As set forth in the Minimum Requirements, if any entity fails to comply with the Minimum Requirements, they can be reported to KYSAFER at 833-KYSAFER or kysafer.ky.gov.

The Minimum Requirements are applicable to all businesses, both those that are reopening and those that have continued to operate throughout the COVID-19 PHE. Kentucky’s Healthy at Work webpage contains links to several resources businesses can use to help implement the Minimum Requirements, including a link to obtain PPE, signage for employees and customers, and a video on how to make a simple mask out of a bandana.  The Governor’s Office has developed a Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) webpage to answer question on how the Commonwealth is reopening the state’s ,economy under the Healthy at Work plan.

Industry specific guidance will be in place for each business sector under Healthy at Work. The Governor has stated in his daily updates that the business community submitted over 1,000 industry specific proposals on best practices to safely operate within each industry’s capabilities, while keeping employees and customers safe. The timeline for reopening each business sector and the industry-specific requirements for each sector that will apply to all businesses even if they never ceased operations during the state of emergency is as follows:

May 9, 2020:

May 11, 2020:

  • Construction – Specific requirements
  • Manufacturing, distribution and supply chain businesses – Specific requirements
  • Vehicle or vessel dealerships – Specific requirements
  • Office-based businesses (at 50% pre-pandemic capacity) (includes finance and accounting, legal, insurance, engineering, architecture, real estate, scientific/technical, property management, non-profit organizations performing administrative services, and other corporate offices and private office-based firms) – Specific requirements
  • Horse racing (no fans in attendance) (only authorized employees, Kentucky Horse Racing Commission license holders who have a horse stabled at a racetrack, and those providing support for a horse stabled at a racetrack, e.g., racetrack employees, trainers, assistant trainers, exercise riders, grooms, hot walkers, jockeys, veterinarians, farriers, and feed vendors) – Specific requirements
  • Pet care, grooming and boarding – Specific requirements
  • Photography (limited to family units and groups no larger than 10 provided that individuals who are not living in the same household pose at least 6 feet apart) – Specific requirements

May 18, 2020:

May 20, 2020:

May 22, 2020:

May 25, 2020 (Memorial Day):

June 1, 2020

  • New! Auctions
  • Auto/Dirt Track Racing
  • Aquatic CentersSpecific Requirements
  • Bowling Alleys New! Specific Requirements
  • Fishing Tournaments
  • Fitness Centers
  • Kentucky State Park Lodges
  • Movie Theaters
  • Salato Wildlife Education Center

June 8, 2020

  • Educational and Cultural Activities
    • Aquariums
    • Distilleries
    • Libraries
    • Limited Outdoor Attractions
    • Museums
  • New! Horse Shows
  • New!Some Childcare (in-home programs)Specific Requirements

June 11, 2020

  • Kentucky Horse Park
  • Kentucky State Park Campgrounds
  • Otter Creek

June 15, 2020

  • Some Child-Care (center-based programs, day camps) – New! Specific Requirements
  • Youth Sports (low touch and outdoors) 

July, 2020

  • Bars
  • Groups of 50 people or fewer

The Governor emphasized that all these businesses must follow the Minimum Requirements, as well as their own industry, organization or activity specific guidance. Information on specific requirements not yet posted are in development and will be announced during the Governor’s daily updates once they are available. The Governor encourages industry groups, trade associations, and individual businesses to submit reopen proposals, discussing strategies and challenges they face in safely reopening. Your proposals will aid the Governor and the Department for Public Health in evaluating at what point different types of businesses may reopen safely. All proposals will be evaluated according to White House guidelines and other public health criteria. This step will ensure that Kentucky businesses are able to comply with public health protocols and CDC guidelines.

The Governor frequently reminds the public during his updates that any of the planned reopenings could be paused as needed to protect public health, especially if the Commonwealth’s progress in the fight against COVID-19 is threatened by Kentuckians letting their guard down as a result of the reopenings.

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