Kentucky Supreme Court Upholds Governor’s Emergency Executive Order Authority

On November 12, 2020, the Kentucky Supreme Court issued a unanimous ruling that the executive orders issued by Governor Andy Beshear under the COVID-19 state of emergency are lawful under Kentucky’s constitution. Justice Lisabeth T. Hughes said that the orders “were, and continue to be, necessary to slow the spread of COVID-19 and protect the health and safety of all Kentucky citizens.” Consequently, all of the Governor’s current mandates will stay in place, including the executive orders requiring face coverings, capacity limits on businesses including restaurants and bars, and healthcare providers’ and pharmacies’ expanded authority and scope of practice during the emergency.  For a further discussion of the court’s decision, see this blog post on the Wyatt Employment Law Report.  The Governor’s Executive Orders related to reopening Kentucky’s economy are linked on the Governor’s Team Kentucky webpage for Healthy at Work.

HHS Announces Additional CARES Act Funds for Nursing Homes

On August 7, 2020, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced that nursing homes and long-term care facilities will receive an additional $5 billion in payments from the Provider Relief Fund. $2.5 billion will support increased testing, staffing, Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) needs, and establishment of COVID-19 isolation facilities. The remaining $2.5 billion will be linked to nursing home performance, which will consider the prevalence of COVID-19 in the nursing home’s local geography and the facility’s ability within this framework to control COVID-19 spread and related fatalities among its residents.

Kentucky Area Development Districts to Receive $6 Million in CARES Act Funding

On August 12, 2020, Governor Andy Beshear announced that $6 million in funding from the CARES Act will go to reimburse Kentucky’s fifteen Area Development Districts (ADDs) for costs associated with the COVID-19 pandemic. Each ADD can expect approximately $392,000 to fund regional disaster economic recovery coordinates, develop disaster resiliency and recovery plans, improve short-term and long-term economic development plans and coordination, provide technical assistance and capacity building for local governments and businesses impacted by COVID-19, and offer organizational support for COVID-19 responses.On August 13, Governor Beshear also announced that fifteen Eastern Kentucky local governments will receive nearly $4 million in CARES Act funds for expenses related to COVID-19.