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Poor People's Campaign against reopening too soon

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Posted at 3:21 PM, May 13, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-13 17:07:25-04

LEXINGTON, Ky. (LEX 18) — As Kentucky moves forward with its reopening plans, Gov. Andy Beshear is reminding everyone that health needs to be taken seriously.

"Our health and our economy have to be our two major priorities," said Beshear.

The governor issued guidelines that each business must follow in order to reopen. He's calling it "Healthy at Work."

The ten rules to reopening a business under the Healthy at Work plan are:

  • Continue telework where possible
  • Phased return to work
  • Onsite temperature/health checks
  • Universal masks and other necessary PPE
  • Close common areas
  • Enforce social distancing
  • Limit face-to-face meetings
  • Sanitizer/hand wash stations
  • Special accommodations
  • Testing plan
  • While some businesses may be eager to open their doors, some employees may not feel comfortable returning to work yet.

The Poor People's Campaign says poor and low income workers worry about being put in dangerous positions as more states continue to open up. They want the government to put the safety of people ahead of the needs of corporations, especially during a pandemic.

Stay in Place! Stay Alive! Organize! And don't believe the lies," said campaign co-chair Dr. Rev. William Barber II during a Zoom press conference on Wednesday.

"The federal government and governors are starting to put millions of people, especially poor people, at great risk by reopening against the best recommendations of doctors, public health officials, and other experts," said Dr. Rev. Liz Theoharis, the other co-chair of the campaign. "No state has demonstrated the capacity in public health infrastructure to reopen safely as states around the country have begun to ease social distancing restrictions. These plans to reopen show no regard for human life. They're prioritizing the profit of the few over the needs of the majority."

The group is calling on people to resist the reopening of states before basic standards of protection are met. Its concern is that low-incomes workers and communities of color will suffer the consequences of states opening up too soon.