May 4, 2020 10:41am
GLI urges reevaluation of certain business reopening requirements in Kentucky
In a letter to Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear and senior members of his administration, GLI urged a reevaluation of certain business reopening requirements. Specifically, GLI highlighted the challenges of mandated masking and temperature taking for employers and requested increased flexibility for businesses. Read the full letter below.
Members of the Beshear Administration:
Yesterday, GLI submitted a proposal via the Healthy at Work online reopen form. As your team reviews the report, GLI would like to emphasize one area of concern for immediate reconsideration: Phase 1 Re-Opening- Masks and onsite temperature screenings.
Our chamber has initiated an aggressive effort to gauge the region’s business community on the opportunities and challenges ahead through our Renewal Task Force. Through that process, concerns from members have emerged about the restrictive standards issued by Governor Beshear that requires all Kentuckians to wear masks and take temperatures at work. Specific to the safe and practical application of these requirements, how mask-wearing may not be necessary or suitable for various work environments if other public health guidelines are administered and how administering temperature screenings may run counterintuitive to other safety and more protective protocols. While we agree that Kentucky employers should make masks and thermometers available to employees, the blanket requirement of deploying these tools in all settings may be too restrictive in some cases, such as:
- In production-based work settings, we have concerns related to heat. If businesses are adhering to KY OSHA standards and taking numerous steps to exacerbate heat problems, we expect masks will add complications as temperatures rise with warmer weather. In these specific work environments with other CDC recommended controls in place, could exceptions be made where mask-wearing is optional?
- In office-based and other dispersed work settings that are not customer-facing, the requirement of mask-wearing may not deserve as much emphasis if other CDC recommendations are implemented. Are there exceptions or options that can be applied here?
- Especially when we recognize temperature screenings will not exclusively identify or prevent the spread of the virus from asymptomatic individuals, we have concerns how employers in certain circumstances can safely administer temperature readings without sacrificing social distancing protocols, creating daily large employee assemblies, obtaining PPE, or investing costly resources to reconfigure their place of business.
We also understand that daily guidance will continue to evolve. As that process unfolds, we encourage the Administration to take these concerns into special consideration to allow our businesses to not only deploy effective ways to combat and prevent the virus through social distancing and other CDC guidelines, but balance their abilities to operate safely and productively.