On May 1, 2020, Governor Eric Holcomb announced a 5-state roadmap to get Indiana “Back on Track” by July 4, 2020, Independence Day. Since March 24, 2020, the state had been in Stage 1, with only essential manufacturing, construction, infrastructure, government, business, healthcare and other critical businesses and operations remaining been open, while K-12 school buildings were closed and all their activities were canceled. Indiana is currently in Stage 2 which it began rolling out on Monday, May 4, 2020, by lifting restrictions in the following areas: travel restrictions lifted; social gatherings of up to 25 people allowed (subject to CDC social distancing guidelines); manufacturers, industrial and other infrastructure operations that had not been operating as essential business allowed to reopen; retail and commercial businesses allowed to reopen at 50% capacity; shopping malls allowed to reopen at 50% capacity with indoor seating limited to 25% capacity.
On May 11, 2020, the state continued to roll-out Stage 2 by easing the following restrictions: restaurants and bars that serve food allowed to reopen at 50% capacity (but bar seating to remain closed); personal services (hair salons, barber shops, nail salons, spa and tattoo parlors) by appointment only. Hoosiers 65 and over and those with high-risk health conditions – who are the most susceptible to the coronavirus – should remain at home as much as possible. Anyone working in an office setting are encouraged to continue working remotely preferably at home where possible.
On May 24, 2020, the state will move to Stage 3 which will include an easing of restrictions on the following businesses and operations, provided health indicators remain positive: Social gatherings of up to 100 people may occur; retail stores and mails may move to 75% capacity; movie theaters may open at 50% capacity and mall common areas (food courts and sitting areas) may move to 50% capacity; playgrounds, tennis courts, basketball courts, pools, campgrounds and gyms and fitness centers may open with restrictions and social distancing. Individuals at risk, including those over 65, may venture out cautiously. Those who can work remotely should continue to do so.
On May 14, 2020, Governor Beshear announced a decision to advance the date for gathering in groups ofup to 10 peoplebeginning May 22, 2020, the Friday ahead of Memorial Day. Recognizing that many Kentuckians have family members across state boarders with whom they may want to visit over the holiday weekend, the Governor also announced that the state’s travel ban will expire on the same day.
On May 14, 2020, Governor Beshear announced that the state has now posted initial guidance for restaurants as they reopen, but the Governor said he is still seeking feedback from those in the industry. The Healthy at Work website now includes retail and restaurant guidance. For additional information on Kentucky’s Healthy At Work phased reopening plan, see the article prepared by Kathie McDonald-McClure which has been updated for these developments.
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) continues to update its guidance for employers in its “What You Should Know About COVID-19 and the ADA, the Rehabilitation Act, and Other EEO Laws” questions and answers on a host of topics, including topics that are important for employers who are beginning the process of reopening. Some of these topics include: Disability-Related Inquiries and Medical Exams; Confidentiality of Medical Examination; Reasonable Accommodation; and Return to Work. Click here to read more.
As reported last week, Kentucky healthcare providers and facilities entered Phase III of the healthcare reopening on May 13, 2020. Under this schedule, healthcare providers were permitted to resume non-emergency/non-urgent inpatient surgeries and procedures at 50% of their pre-COVID-19 shutdown volume. All providers must continue to follow strict rules and procedures meant to mitigate the risk of transmission of COVID-19, including limiting visitors, but healthcare facilities may now permit a patient to have one visitor, provided that visitor is adequately screened and wears a face mask while in the facility. Phase IV, permitting facilities to resume non-emergent/non-urgent inpatient surgery and procedures at the volume determined by the facility, is scheduled to begin on May 27, 2020. Providers can find information on each Phase of the reopening here.
In late April and the first week of May, Kentucky Governor Beshear introduced the 10 Rules to Reopening and Staying Healthy at Work, as well as, more detailed Minimum Requirements for each rule. The 10 Rules and associated Minimum Requirements will apply to healthcare businesses beginning on Monday, May 11, 2020. The Governor has emphasized in his daily updates that compliance with the 10 Rules and the Minimum Requirements is essential to protect employees in all business sectors – both healthcare and non-healthcare – as well as to protect the individuals with whom employees may come into contact both inside and outside of the work environment. For additional information, see the article by Kathie McDonald-McClure, “Kentucky Governor Provides Details on the Commonwealth’s ‘Healthy At Work’ Phased Reopening” by clicking here.
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:
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
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.