VIRUS UPDATES: Helping Restaurants, How long food lasts, Habitat, St. Joseph, Lextran, Price-gouging, EKU Center, Baptist surgeries

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LEXINGTON, Ky. (WTVQ) – The following are updates from different groups and agencies related to the coronavirus outbreak:

HELPING RESTAURANTS, STAFFS, SMALL BUSINESSES

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Several efforts are growing across the region to help small businesses, restaurants and their staffs from the impact of the coronavirus.

Www.Lexunite.com was organized by Dan Wu, the owner of Atomoc Ramen which made the decision to close its doors Monday night. It’s one of many projects on social media to help local small restaurant service businesses survive. LexUnite has about 25-26 business owners, chefs around town involved. People are encouraged to go on the site and buy gift cards from their favorite establishment on there.

The City of Lexington has posted all downtown businesses that are doing curbside pickup, delivery here: https://www.downtownlex.com/business-adjustments-and-closings/



Another one gaining popularity on social media is https://rallyforrestaurants.comMany chambers of commerce and business grousp in communities also are organizing and maintaining lists. Contact them or check their Facebook sites for ways to help.

LEXTRAN CHANGES SERVICE

Lextran is asking all customers to limit non-essential travel. Lextran will reduce service beginning Thursday, March 19. Weekday service on the following routes will operate on a reduced schedule:

  • 1 Woodhill Drive
  • 2 Georgetown Road
  • 4 Newtown Pike
  • 6 North Broadway
  • 7 North Limestone
  • 9 Eastland Drive
  • 11 Richmond Road
  • 12 Leestown Road
  • 13 South Broadway
  • 14 UK Blue/White
  • 15 Red Mile

Specific schedule details can be found at lextran.com/covid19service.

The following routes will continue to operate as scheduled:

Bus service will be suspended on the following routes until further notice:

  • 16 Southland Drive
  • 21 Airport/Keeneland
  • 24 Old Frankfort Pike

Lextran’s paratransit service for people with disabilities (WHEELS) continues to operate normally. Passengers should contact WHEELS directly if they need to cancel trips.

Additionally, Lextran is eliminating fares until further notice amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. This effort is intended to speed the boarding process and allow passengers to take their seat faster, thus maximizing social distancing between operators and passengers. All passengers are asked to use the rear door for entry and exit. Those passengers with limited mobility and using mobility devices may continue to use the front door. All passengers will be required to exit the bus at the end of the line and at the Transit Center.

The passenger waiting areas at the downtown Transit Center will be closed starting Thursday. Customer service phone support will be available between 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. Please note, call volumes and wait times may be greater than usual.

Lextran continues to clean and disinfect buses daily, with extra sanitation efforts on high-touch areas. Additional staff members have been stationed at the downtown Transit Center to assist with onboard cleaning between trips. Passengers are encouraged to practice good hygiene on and off the bus.

Recognizing that many of Lextran’s frontline employees are forced to balance work and service to the community with caring for family members who may be home from area schools and daycares, Lextran continues to prepare for additional limitations to service, should those become necessary.

CHI SAINT JOSEPH

Saint Joseph Hospital, Saint Joseph East and Women’s Hospital at Saint Joseph East are tightening visitation even further.

The facilities will allow only one designated visitor over age 18 to visit patients in all units. Access to the hospitals will be limited to the front entrance from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily or through the Emergency Department 24/7.

In the maternity and NICU areas of Women’s Hospital at Saint Joseph East, visitors will be limited to parents and grandparents without a fever or runny nose. Only parents will be in allowed to visit the NICU.

Continuing Care Hospital, a long-term acute care facility inside Saint Joseph Hospital, is implementing even stricter restrictions due to the higher risk associated with COVID-19 to the patients it serves. CCH will allow only one approved visitor for the duration of a patient’s stay and is limiting visitation to 6-8 p.m. each day. Visitors must meet screening guidelines and wear gown, gloves and masks during their visit. Visitors will not be able to leave the patient area and then return.

People with a fever, cough, sore throat or other flu-like symptoms will not be permitted to visit. Anyone who has traveled to a high risk area for COVID-19 or had contact with a person known to be infected with COVID-19 will not be allowed to visit patients in the hospitals.

In addition, patients who come to the hospital for surgical services or outpatient testing will be screened at the entrance, as will patients and the designated visitor in the maternity and NICU areas. This will include checking each person’s temperature. All patients and visitors in maternity will be required to wear urgent/emergent surgery masks in designated areas, including prep, surgery and recovery unit.

HABITAT FOR HUMANITY CHANGES

As of March 18, 2020, Lexington Habitat is taking the following steps:
ReStores: Temporarily Closed to the Public
Effective 6 p.m. on Saturday, March 21, 2020, we will be closing both Lexington Habitat ReStore locations until further notice. Please know that this decision was a difficult one.
Though we are no longer able to provide residential donation pick-up services or deconstruction services, both Lexington Habitat ReStore locations are continuing to accept drop-off donations in designated areas. For the health and safety of staff and customers, staff will not be able to assist with donation drop-offs. Donation receipts will be made available.
Effective 5 p.m. on Friday, March 20, 2020, we are temporarily closing our administrative office to the public. Please visit our staff directory and our team members will assist you remotely.
To apply to our homeownership or home repair program, visit www.lexhabitat.org. Applications can be submitted via mail, email or at the drop box located at 700 E. Loudon Ave. Home repair applications are currently being accepted on an ongoing basis. Homeownership applications must be received by April 3, 2020. We expect the homeownership application period will re-open on November 2, 2020.
We are temporarily suspending all volunteer activity at our build sites, offices and ReStore locations. Individuals and groups who were scheduled to volunteer will be rescheduled at a later time.

TRANSYLVANIA CHANGES SCHEDULES

On Wednesday, Transylvania University Interim President Dr. John N. Williams announced the university has decided to move to remote instruction for the remainder of the academic year and provide May term instruction remotely only for seniors who require credits to graduate in May. Here is what that means:

  • Classes will resume on Monday, March 23, and will be delivered by remote instruction through the last scheduled day of regular classes on Friday, April 17.
  • Final exams will take place remotely from Tuesday, April 21, to Friday, April 24.
  • Because May term classes are unique and provide highly interactive learning, offering them online is challenging. We have made the decision to prioritize graduating seniors this May term and offer online instruction only to those seniors who require credits to graduate in May 2020.
  • May term classes for seniors who need them will begin online starting Monday, April 27, and conclude Tuesday, May 19.
  • At this time, Transylvania is requiring all students to return to their permanent residences by Tuesday, March 24, unless they receive approval to remain on campus. Requests to remain in campus housing will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis.
  • We are considering options for commencement, including postponement from Saturday, May 23, to a later date.
  • Most on-campus events through the end of the academic year will be canceled or rescheduled. For a list of specific events, visit our website.
  • At this time, Transylvania Athletics has suspended its spring sports activities.

REPORTING PRICE-GOUGING

Attorney General Daniel Cameron today announced new resources for consumers to report suspected price gouging to his office during the COVID-19 pandemic. Consumers can now complete an electronic price gouging complaint form by visiting ag.ky.gov/pricegouging.

Previously, there was no electronic means available for consumers to file price gouging complaints. The new form allows the submission of complaints from electronic devices, including smart phones, computers, or tablets. The fillable form prompts consumers to provide information about the suspected price gouging, including the item purchased, the price of the item, and the location where the item was purchased. The completed form is then sent to the Attorney Generals Consumer Protection Division to review and investigate.

Cameron also announced updates to the menu features of the Consumer Protection Hotline (1-888-432-9257) to make it easier for Kentuckians to file price gouging complaints via phone.

Since the price gouging laws took effect in early March, the Attorney Generals Office has received 84 complaints of suspected price gouging in the Commonwealth. The Office of Consumer Protection is actively investigating the complaints.

When filing a price gouging complaint, consumers are encouraged to report as many details as possible about the suspected price gouging, including the name and address of the seller/retailer, the item purchased, the price of the item after the emergency declaration, and the price of the item before the emergency declaration, if known. If a refund is sought, consumers should also keep receipts from the transaction to show proof of purchase.

To file a price gouging complaint, visit ag.ky.gov/pricegouging or call the Consumer Protection Hotline at 1-888-432-9257.

COMMUNITY, TECHNICAL COLLEGES

The Kentucky Community and Technical College System (KCTCS) is moving to online instruction beginning today through March 27. All lab classes have been postponed until then as well. Labs will resume near the end of the term.

The majority of personnel will work remotely during this time. However, all colleges are open with limited staff and limited access to certain areas. Three colleges are on spring break this week and will begin online classes and telework when they return.

Other processes colleges are following include:

  • Nursing and allied health clinicals will be at the discretion of the college and their partners.
  • Student services will be offered virtually or in a limited fashion on campus with limited staffing.
  • All travel has been halted for staff members, including visits to other KCTCS colleges and the Versailles office.

Before March 27, leadership will determine if it is safe to return to regular instruction with staff on campus or to continue online coursework and telework for staff.

EKU CENTER IN RICHMOND

The EKU Center at Eastern Kentucky University in Richmond has postponed all shows through May 15.

POSTPONED
The following EKU Center events are postponed. We are in the process of rescheduling these dates.

EKU will alert ticket holders as soon as new dates have been scheduled or if a show has been cancelled. Ticket holders are encouraged to keep their tickets during the rescheduling process.

RESCHEDULED
The following show has been rescheduled. For those who are unable to attend the new date, refunds will be available. Ticket holders should look for information from the EKU Center box office in the coming weeks.

  • May 2, 2020 – Air Supply (RESCHEDULED: November 7, 2020)

As a venue whose mission is to bring people together in celebration of performing arts, it is with heavy hearts that we close our doors to public performances during this time. As a nonprofit arts organization, we rely on ticket sales, concessions, and rental fees to meet our financial obligations. This closure represents a significant loss of revenue to the EKU Center. As patrons of our venue, we appreciate the support you give us. If you hold tickets for a show that has had a date change and are unable to attend, we ask you consider donating the value of your tickets or make a tax-deductible donation to help us offset the costs already incurred from the affected events. Information on how to donate to the EKU Center is forthcoming.

BAPTIST DELAYS ELECTIVE SURGERIES

Baptist Health Lexington is suspending elective procedures at surgeon’s offices associated with our hospital beginning Thursday, March 19. Urgent and emergency procedures will still be performed.

 

The American College of Surgeons, the U.S. Surgeon General and Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear all have called for elective surgeries to be postponed to meet the rising demand for COVID-19 care and to conserve hospital resources. As soon as it has been decided to lift these guidelines, surgeon’s offices will reach out to patients affected by this change to reschedule.

 

Elective procedures are defined as those that are necessary, but can be delayed for 30 days without significant risk or harm to the patient.

 

Urgent cases will generally include procedures that cannot wait 30 days without significant risk to the patient, but in each case will ultimately be determined by the judgment of the physicians in cooperation with medical staff leadership at each facility.

 

Emergency cases are those that could result in the loss of life, limb or organ, or permanent disability if postponed, so these will be done as they always have been — as quickly as possible.

NO CHARGE AT LEXPARK METERS, 2-HOUR LIMIT ENFORCED

The Lexington Parking Authority (LPA) announced today that all LEXPARK on-street meters will be free of charge, but two-hour time limits will be enforced.

Several paid parking spaces have already been converted into “Curbside Pick-Up ONLY” spaces with a 15-minute time limit. This policy is set to be in place from today, March 18 through Friday, April 10, 2020, and will be re-evaluated after that time.