Governor responds to criticism on lack of recovery plan, says people could die if state re-opens too quickly

Posted at 3:38 PM, Apr 15, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-15 22:26:41-04

(LEX 18) — As some parts of the country potentially near their peak, there are talks about how to re-open everything and when to do it. However, Gov. Andy Beshear says Kentucky is still in its surge. That means we can expect to see more cases of the coronavirus as we move forward.

So, how long will it be until life returns to normal in Kentucky? The governor says there is no exact date he can give right now. That is why he's not publicly talking about recovery plans yet. During his 5 p.m. updates, the governor has hinted at them before, but never went into much detail.

Now, his critics say he's holding Kentucky back.

The Republican Party of Kentucky released a statement on Tuesday saying that Beshear is leaving Kentucky behind the curve on coronavirus recovery planning.

“While Kentuckians are working hard to pull together and flatten the curve, Andy Beshear is leaving us behind the curve when it comes to recovery,” said Mike Longeran, the spokesperson for the Republican Party of Kentucky. “Leaders across the country of both political parties are working to prepare for recovery even as the virus begins to peak in various hotspots. Kentuckians are sacrificing so much to help fight the virus. They deserve not to be left behind by Andy Beshear’s refusal to act.”

On Wednesday, Beshear mentioned that he, along with the governors of Ohio and Indiana, are partnering with one another to limit restrictions on the opening of businesses heading forward, and that one state can't sign off on something if the other states haven't checked or agreed with it.

"We talk about restrictions as we increase them. We've been talking for a couple of weeks about number one - making sure we're going to coordinate when we decrease them," said Beshear. "We haven't made an announcement like has been made in a couple of other places, but I believe we've been doing the same thing as those other areas. I will say those talks have been great. We have all been on the same page. There have been zero politics."

Kentucky lawmakers also took action on Tuesday. The House Speaker said there is work being done on a bill that could allow some non-essential business to open back up, if they do it safely.

However, the governor is not happy with that plan. He believes lawmakers are being pressured by lobbyists. He says Kentucky should listen to medical experts instead.

"It's who do you trust on how and when we re-open things? Do you trust the governor - lead by the Department of Public Health and all of our medical officials? Or, do you trust the legislature and lobbyists, that are talking to them each day, based on monetary interests that are out there? I don't think that's a hard decision," said Beshear.

"Our legislative leaders, I know, are probably coming from a good place," said Beshear. "But you know, they haven't been at this every day."

Beshear says to eventually re-open the state, Kentucky will need significant testing, the staff and ability to contract trace, and a lot more personal protective equipment.

"It's going to take more PPE than we have right now, because as you gradually reopen, you're going to want PPE in a lot of different places, other than just our hospital systems," said Beshear.

Beshear also warned that things will need to be reopened gradually.

"You're going to have to look at the specific way that you reopen any specific business or industry and how it can better comply with CDC guidelines and how much contact there is with the rest of the world. It won't be something that just entirely reopens. It's going to be even phased within that," said Beshear. "And then, we have to look at who it's reopened to, which is really hard. Remember, even when we're coming out of this and trying to loosen up some, those over 60, those who are medically fragile, are still going to be in significant danger, so it's complicated."

"I know folks are antsy, but we want to do this right," said Beshear, and warned that if Kentucky opens up too early, people could die.