FRANKFORT, Ky. (WTVQ) – After starting slowly with health care this week and some manufacturing and construction Monday, Kentucky’s economic reopening could begin in earnest starting May 22, under a plan unveiled Thursday by Gov. Andy Beshear.
Under the plan, restaurants would open May 22 with 33 percent capacity indoors and unlimited capacity for outdoor seating as long as the business can maintain social distancing.
The goal is to allow the opening before the Memorial Day weekend, the traditional start to summer.
Beshear called it a “good compromise” between public health and business. He also said he coordinated the opening with Ohio, which is opening outdoor seating slightly earlier. He also was motivated by partial openings already in neighboring Indiana and Tennessee.
“Those things pushed us up a little bit…but many may find they aren’t ready. I don’t know that they’ll be ready,” Beshear said.
The guidelines will be posted to the state’s web site “soon,” Beshear promised. He said the biggest hurdle will be the “constant cleaning” required as part of the health and safety guidelines.The next date is June 1, the target for opening movie theaters and fitness centers.
June 11 is the date for public and private campgrounds, followed by child care centers on June 15.
“I know it is such a challenge,” he said.
The rules will include reduce capacity, very monitored situations. “We are working through the rules now,” Beshear said.
The June 15 date will include youth sports, but they must be outdoor sports. Indoor sports won’t be included.
Pools won’t yet be included.
“You just can’t socially distance in a pool,” he said, referencing public pools and ones at apartment complexes or community centers.
The next tier will be groups of 50 people or more in July, which would include festivals, concerts and other events. It also likely will include bars, which may find it easier to meet guidelines than some larger events.
“All that could change based on what we see in June,” Beshear said.
But even events of 50 or more people will require cleaning and other strict standards. The governor thinks that will force some county fairs, festivals and other events to postpone.
“Think about having to clean every ride and every game after each person, cleaning everything. testing people,” he said.
“I know we all want a normal summer, but that’s just not going to happen,” he concluded.
He also said his staff is working with the courts and governments to move through the opening process. As many local governments have found, some of the changes forced by the coronavirus will remain in place.
“I think we will continue to do a lot of things virtually,” Beshear said. “We have found a lot of efficiencies in working from home and using technology. The courts have cut down on transports and related issues.”