By Jack Brammer
Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear spelled out Wednesday in a new executive order which businesses can remain open during the COVID-19 pandemic because he considers them “life-sustaining.”
In his eight-page order, he said all businesses “that are not-life sustaining” must close by 8 p.m. Thursday “except as needed to conduct minimum basic operations.”
He defined those as the minimum necessary activities to maintain the value of the business’ inventory, preserve the physical condition of the business, ensure security, process payroll and employee benefits and facilitate telecommuting.
He also said evictions in the state are suspended and that all in-person government activities at the state, county and local level that are not necessary to sustain life are suspended.
Beshear’s order mostly dealt with which businesses can stay open.
Those that can stay open, the order said, include grocery stores, drug stores and pharmacies, banks, hardware stores, agricultural operations, gas stations, media, businesses needed for transportation, logistics, shipping, delivery and pick-up, housing, building and construction, laundry, financial services, home-based care and services, professional services, manufacturing and other businesses key to national interests or life-sustaining goods or services, and those covered under federal regulations regarding the critical infrastructure sector. They include such things as emergency services, dams, chemical plants, health care and food service.
Also allowed to stay open are organizations that provide charitable services, businesses providing construction or maintenance of residential, commercial or governmental structures, post offices and other businesses that provide shipping and delivery services, such as groceries, food and beverages and laundry services.
The order also says it does not interfere with the lawful sale of firearms and ammunition, but said such businesses, like all others, must follow social distancing and good hygiene as recommended by federal and state health officials.
He also said his prior orders relating to businesses remain in effect. Those orders closed entertainment venues and all non-essential retailers to in-person traffic. Restaurants can continue offering drive-thru, takeout and delivery.
Beshear said Tuesday most professional services, including attorneys, accountants and those in real estate, can be performed at home.
He again encouraged all businesses to let employees work from home whenever possible.