Gov. Beshear Launches ‘Healthy At Work’ For Safe Reopening Of Economy

Wednesday, April 22, 2020 at 6:09 AM

By Gov. Andy Beshear, news release

This initiative aims to give workers and employers tools to restart business safely when time is right.

(Frankfort, Ky.) - Gov. Andy Beshear on Tuesday announced the launch of “Healthy at Work,” a new initiative to help Kentucky businesses reopen safely as we fight the novel coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19).

The Governor has urged all Kentuckians to remain Healthy at Home, following federal and state guidelines on social distancing and limiting contacts. However, Kentucky families and businesses also must prepare for the day when we begin to reopen our economy.

“We want to make sure that when we hit that mark, knowing that we may only know five days in, that we’re ready and that when it is safe to do something, we can immediately start doing it,” the Governor said.

But he warned against opening up too soon.

“When we look at the long-term reopening of the economy, we do it by not being foolish or making risky decisions,” Gov. Beshear said. “It’s how we come out of this strong.”

Healthy at Work offers a phased approach to reopening Kentucky’s economy. It is based on criteria set by public health experts and advice from industry experts.

“This is going to be a dialogue with your business, your trade associations, employee groups,” said La Tasha Buckner, the Governor’s chief of staff and general counsel. “We’re all going to be working on this. We want to make sure we’re doing this the best way and not the quickest way.”

Phase 1 is a state-readiness evaluation. Phase 2 is an individual business-readiness evaluation. This approach will ensure the commonwealth’s citizens can safely return to work while still protecting the most vulnerable Kentuckians.

During Phase 1 of Healthy at Work, the Kentucky Department for Public Health will determine whether Kentucky has met certain public health benchmarks for reopening Kentucky’s economy. These benchmarks closely follow the White House’s Guidelines for Reopening America.

During Phase 2 of Healthy at Work, the Department for Public Health will evaluate individual businesses’ ability to safely reopen.

“Our new normal is not going to be the old normal,” Gov. Beshear said. “Every plan has to be really different from what regular operations looked like before.”

Among other things, each business proposal is required to explain its ability to provide personal protective equipment (PPE) to employees, adequate access to hand sanitizer and disinfectant, and minimal direct contact between employees and the public.

“Doing this right is about safety. That’s our number one concern,” the Governor said. “It’s also the right thing for the economy. Avoiding a second spike will restore our economy faster.”

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