Mayor Fischer says Louisville economy will open gradually and carefully as COVID-19 restrictions begin to ease
Mayor Greg Fischer today called on Louisville businesses to be cautious and thoughtful as they move to begin gradually reopening from the COVID-19 shutdown, as part of Gov. Andy Beshear’s Healthy at Work plan.
“Let’s be clear: just because a business is allowed to reopen doesn’t mean it will – or should – reopen right away,” the Mayor said. “In order to reopen and stay open, businesses have to follow strict guidelines for social distancing, cleaning and disinfecting, and for the use of personal protective equipment.”
The state has already begun allowing healthcare facilities to resume non-urgent care as well as optometry and physical therapy. On Monday, it will begin implementing the Healthy at Work plan and begin the cautious process of letting shuttered businesses ease back into serving customers and clients. Included in the first phase on Monday are manufacturers, construction companies, horse racing (with no fans in attendance), vehicle/vessel dealerships, office-based businesses (50% capacity), pet care, grooming/boarding, and photography businesses.
Retailers and houses of worship will be allowed to resume in-person activities on May 20, followed by restaurants (33% capacity plus outdoor seating) on May 22, then hair salons/barbershops, cosmetology businesses, nail salons, tanning salons, massage therapists, acupuncturists, and tattoo parlors on May 25.
(Go to www.louisvilleky.gov/government/build-back-better-together/how-we-reopen... a full list of businesses and opening dates.)
“I want to thank Governor Beshear for the thoughtful and measured approach he and his team have taken in putting this plan together,” Mayor Fischer said. “We’re seeing other states – including our neighbors across the river – on a much more aggressive timeline. That concerns me because the virus doesn’t care about our economic needs or how much we all want to get back to work.
The Mayor has repeatedly called for a measured, science-based approach to reopening the Louisville economy amidst a move in some neighboring states to ease restrictions on businesses and allow people to shop and dine out.
Health experts have warned that states that reopen without first sufficiently containing the spread of the virus risk a spike in infections that would undo the intense and unprecedented effort to protect hospitals and first responders from being overwhelmed.
“We’re going to learn a lot in the next two to three weeks about the impact of opening businesses sooner, and if that creates a spike in the number of COVID-19 cases,” Mayor Fischer said.
The Healthy at Work plan lays out 10 guidelines for businesses that want to reopen, including enforced social distancing, mandatory masks for employees, and a testing plan in case an employee has COVID-19 symptoms. (See the full list at govstatus.egov.com/ky-healthy-at-work-faq.)
“The lessons of this crisis so far are that as we move forward, we have to maintain vigilance and be humble to the exponential danger of the virus,” the Mayor said. “We have to get used to the fact that our lives and our work are going to be different. And that certainly applies to those businesses that will be re-opening on Monday.”
Although the economy may begin reopening, Louisville Metro Chief Health Strategist Dr. Sarah Moyer urged people not to let their guard down. She continued to stress the need to practice social distancing, continue staying home, and avoid unnecessary trips.
“If we fail to do these things, we will reverse all the gains we have made over the past two months and will see a resurgence in new COVID-19 cases and deaths,” Dr. Moyer said. “And it’s not all up to the businesses. Each of us bears personal responsibility to protect not only our own health and safety, but the health and safety of our community.”
As of Friday, there have been 39 new confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Louisville, bringing the total to 1,592 with 949 recoveries. There have been two additional deaths since Thursday. The confirmed Louisville total is 115.
Currently, 56 members of LMPD, Louisville Fire, Metro EMS, Metro Corrections and the Sheriff’s Office are off-duty due to COVID-19:
- 19 are off with positive tests and in self-isolation.
- 25 are off and quarantined due to exposure to someone with a positive test.
- 12 are “screened off” with symptoms and tested, or due to be tested, but have not received test results.
Positive test numbers for first responders/public safety since the incident began:
- 40 positive tests.
- 21 have fully recovered and returned to duty.
Metro Corrections inmate data for May 8:
- 333 inmates have been tested.
- 0 positives.
- 164 tests are pending.
Mayor Fischer today thanked 160 volunteers from the local group Hour of Need for hand sewing more than 10,000 masks and face coverings to be donated to hospitals, assisted living facilities, and homeless shelters.
“It’s been gratifying to see how many folks in our community have embraced our city value of compassion these last few weeks,” the Mayor said. “Thank you, thank you, thank you!”
Mayor Fischer also expressed the city’s gratitude to several individuals who have donated personal protective equipment (PPE):
- Jim Biller
- Deloris Drain
- Glenda Colts
- Doug Foster
- Rose Bode
- Karen Zriny
- Sarah Ghulan
“Thank you for showing true citizenship and compassion in making these donations,” the Mayor said.
Although local hospitals and first responders have managed to maintain an adequate supply of PPE such as masks, gloves, and shields, more is always needed. If you or your organization has the capacity to donate or produce PPE, please contact Louisville Metro Government at [email protected].
“The Doctor Is In” at Saturday tele town hall
Mayor Fischer will host a Facebook Live tele town hall on Saturday morning with his regular guest, Dr. Jon Klein, to answer medical questions about the COVID-19 outbreak.
Dr. Klein is the vice dean for research at the University of Louisville School of Medicine.
To participate, go to www.facebook.com/MayorGregFischer at 10 a.m. Saturday.