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Reopening Rules for Restaurants and Retail

Host Renee Shaw discusses reopening rules for restaurants and retail businesses with scheduled guests Steven Stack, MD, commissioner of the Kentucky Department for Public Health (pre-recorded interview); Stacy Roof, president and CEO of the Kentucky Restaurant Association; Tod Griffin, president of the Kentucky Retail Federation; and Allison Adams, director of the Buffalo Trace District Health Department and chair of the Kentucky Public Health Association. Shaw will also speak with Mark Fichtner, owner of Carson's Food and Drink in Lexington and Kevin Cranley, president of Willis Music Company, with retail stores in Kentucky and Ohio (pre-recorded segment).
Season 27 Episode 19 Length 56:33 Premiere: 05/18/20

About

Kentucky Tonight

KET’s Kentucky Tonight, hosted by Renee Shaw, brings together an expert panel for in-depth analysis of major issues facing the Commonwealth.

This weekly program features comprehensive discussions with lawmakers, stakeholders and policy leaders that are moderated by award-winning journalist Renee Shaw.

For nearly three decades, Kentucky Tonight has been a source for complete and balanced coverage of the most urgent and important public affairs developments in the state of Kentucky.

Often aired live, viewers are encouraged to participate by submitting questions in real-time via email, Twitter or KET’s online form. Viewers with questions and comments may send an email to kytonight@ket.org or use the contact form. All messages should include first and last name and town or county. The phone number for viewer calls during the program is 800-494-7605.

After the broadcast, Kentucky Tonight programs are available on KET.org and via podcast (iTunes or Android). Files are normally accessible within 24 hours after the television broadcast.

Kentucky Tonight was awarded a 1997 regional Emmy by the Ohio Valley Chapter of the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences. The series was also honored with a 1995 regional Emmy nomination.

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Renee Shaw is the Director of Public Affairs and Moderator at KET, currently serving as host of KET’s weeknight public affairs program Kentucky Edition, the signature public policy discussion series Kentucky Tonight, the weekly interview series Connections, Election coverage and KET Forums.

Since 2001, Renee has been the producing force behind KET’s legislative coverage that has been recognized by the Kentucky Associated Press and the National Educational Telecommunications Association. Under her leadership, KET has expanded its portfolio of public affairs content to include a daily news and information program, Kentucky Supreme Court coverage, townhall-style forums, and multi-platform program initiatives around issues such as opioid addiction and youth mental health.  

Renee has also earned top awards from the Ohio Valley Chapter of the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences (NATAS), with three regional Emmy awards. In 2023, she was inducted into the Silver Circle of the NATAS, one of the industry’s highest honors recognizing television professionals with distinguished service in broadcast journalism for 25 years or more.  

Already an inductee into the Kentucky Civil Rights Hall of Fame (2017), Renee expands her hall of fame status with induction into Western Kentucky University’s Hall of Distinguished Alumni in November of 2023.  

In February of 2023, Renee graced the front cover of Kentucky Living magazine with a centerfold story on her 25 years of service at KET and even longer commitment to public media journalism. 

In addition to honors from various educational, civic, and community organizations, Renee has earned top honors from the Associated Press and has twice been recognized by Mental Health America for her years-long dedication to examining issues of mental health and opioid addiction.  

In 2022, she was honored with Women Leading Kentucky’s Governor Martha Layne Collins Leadership Award recognizing her trailblazing path and inspiring dedication to elevating important issues across Kentucky.   

In 2018, she co-produced and moderated a 6-part series on youth mental health that was awarded first place in educational content by NETA, the National Educational Telecommunications Association. 

She has been honored by the AKA Beta Gamma Omega Chapter with a Coretta Scott King Spirit of Ivy Award; earned the state media award from the Kentucky Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution in 2019; named a Charles W. Anderson Laureate by the Kentucky Personnel Cabinet in 2019 honoring her significant contributions in addressing socio-economic issues; and was recognized as a “Kentucky Trailblazer” by the University of Kentucky Martin School of Public Policy and Administration during the Wendell H. Ford Lecture Series in 2019. That same year, Shaw was named by The Kentucky Gazette’s inaugural recognition of the 50 most notable women in Kentucky politics and government.  

Renee was bestowed the 2021 Berea College Service Award and was named “Unapologetic Woman of the Year” in 2021 by the Community Action Council.   

In 2015, she received the Green Dot Award for her coverage of domestic violence, sexual assault & human trafficking. In 2014, Renee was awarded the Anthony Lewis Media Award from the KY Department of Public Advocacy for her work on criminal justice reform. Two Kentucky governors, Republican Ernie Fletcher and Democrat Andy Beshear, have commissioned Renee as a Kentucky Colonel for noteworthy accomplishments and service to community, state, and nation.  

A former adjunct media writing professor at Georgetown College, Renee traveled to Cambodia in 2003 to help train emerging journalists on reporting on critical health issues as part of an exchange program at Western Kentucky University. And, she has enterprised stories for national media outlets, the PBS NewsHour and Public News Service.  

Shaw is a 2007 graduate of Leadership Kentucky, a board member of CASA of Lexington, and a longtime member of the Frankfort/Lexington Chapter of The Links Incorporated, an international, not-for-profit organization of women of color committed to volunteer service. She has served on the boards of the Kentucky Historical Society, Lexington Minority Business Expo, and the Board of Governors for the Ohio Valley Chapter of the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences. 

Host Renee Shaw smiling in a green dress with a KET set behind her.

Despite Health Risks, State Retailers and Restaurants Prepare to Reopen

The gradual process of lifting pandemic restrictions continues this week as government offices, funeral homes, retail shops, and restaurants begin to reopen under guidelines issued by Gov. Andy Beshear’s administration. Small group gatherings of 10 people or fewer will also be allowed starting May 22.

These changes come as the state pushes for even more testing options across the commonwealth and launches contact tracing and real-time surveillance of infection data in hopes of containing further spread of COVID-19.

But as more people venture out for work and pleasure, public health officials warn that the novel coronavirus remains a significant threat to people across the state.

“I’m very worried that, in general, the public is becoming too comfortable that this is not a danger, that they are not going to take as seriously as they need to the things we’re urging them to do,” says Public Health Commissioner Dr. Steven Stack.

Some 8,000 Kentuckians have tested positive for COVID-19 since the state’s first confirmed case in early March. The virus has killed about 350 people in the commonwealth. Dr. Stack says older patients are at greatest risk.

“If you get this disease and you are over 80, there’s a very good chance this is fatal,” says Dr. Stack. “If you are over 60, your risk is substantially elevated.”

Public health officials are also tracking a new threat to the youngest patients. While most children who contract COVID-19 do well, Dr. Stack says a few patients later develop what’s being called Pediatric Multi-System Inflammatory Syndrome (PMIS). Symptoms can include prolonged fever, abdominal pain, runny nose, and a rash. Left unchecked, PMIS can affect the child’s blood vessels, heart, or kidneys, and can lead to respiratory or circulatory collapse and even death.

So far, four Kentucky children have been diagnosed with the syndrome.

“Though it is uncommon, if you get it, it’s really bad and it could be a life-ending condition,” says Dr. Stack. “So even if it only happens to a few [children], it’s something we really want to avoid.”

Given the lingering health risks, Gov. Beshear and other state officials have taken a gradual approach to reopening businesses. The first phase started with health care in late April, then moved to construction, manufacturing, and professional services on May 11. The next phase includes retail shops, which can reopen on May 20, and restaurants, which can resume in-person service on May 22.

All businesses must comply with basic guidelines such as masking and daily temperature checks for employees, enforced social distancing of employees and customers, and closure of common areas like public waiting rooms and employee break rooms. Certain sectors must adopt additional guidelines before reopening.

What to Expect When Shopping

While many essential businesses have remained opened during the crisis, most retailers have been closed for two months.

“Retailers, by and large, are super excited about the May 20th option to reopen,” says Kentucky Retail Federation President Tod Griffin. “But they’re also cautiously apprehensive a little bit. Some just aren’t ready to do it yet.”

Like many businesses, Willis Music Company temporarily shuttered its retail stores in Kentucky and Ohio and laid off employees during the pandemic. Although the company has offered limited curbside and mail-order service out of its headquarters, Wills Music President Kevin Cranley says business is down at least 30 percent. Once his stores reopen, Cranley says he expects to return to full capacity. He says all employees will be masked, and stores will have hand sanitizing stations and shields at cash registers.

“Sometimes when one retailer or one church does something wrong, we all tend to get painted by that same brush,” says Cranley. “I can tell you that retailers all over this state, they’re very responsible, good people. They’re your neighbors and they just want what’s best for their employees, their customers, and their business.”

Cranley says the one service that won’t resume for now is private lessons. He says one-on-one instruction on a musical instrument makes it difficult to maintain proper social distancing.

Beyond the minimum Healthy at Work guidelines required of all businesses, retailers and stores in shopping malls must follow additional protocols. These include:

  • Retailers must limit the number of customers to 33 percent of maximum capacity allowed for the facility. They must also enforce six-foot distancing among customers and employees. If the establishment can’t maintain that distancing in the store and at check out, then customer capacity should be further reduced.
  • Retailers should use contactless payment options and electronic forms and e-signature options as much as possible.
  • Customer access to bulk bins of products or cosmetic samples should cease.
  • Surfaces in common areas, workstations, and fitting rooms should be frequently sanitized. Shopping carts and baskets should be sanitized after each use.
  • Clothing or other items that are tried but not purchased should be sanitized before being put back into stock.
  • Businesses should establish a policy as to whether to serve customers that aren’t wearing masks. (They may refuse service to patrons who refuse to do so.)
  • Employees should wear gloves when doing high-touch activities, shipping and receiving, or in-home installations.

Griffin says the new COVID reality will change the retailing environment. He says he hopes the rules will relax a bit over time, but until then, he says shoppers and store owners need to get comfortable with a new way of doing business.

“Customers maybe won’t do as many leisurely shopping trips,” says Griffin. “They may make their list or have a couple of things that they need and do a quick in and out.”

What to Expect in Restaurants

The Beshear Administration allowed restaurants to stay open during the pandemic, but only with take out, curbside, or delivery service. As of May 22, restaurants can reopen their dining rooms but, like retailers, they will have to limit indoor seating to 33 percent of normal capacity and ensure six feet of distance between tables.

But restaurants can have unlimited outdoor seating, as long as social distancing rules are followed.

“It gives them options around their business. Maybe they have a parking lot that they can utilize in a different way, or they can expand [into] a side street that’s not utilized,” says Stacy Roof, president and CEO of the Kentucky Restaurant Association. “Being outside makes us all feel better... and this is the time of year we want to enjoy that.”

Bars that have food service permits and shopping malls food courts can also reopen as long as they follow the full list of restaurant guidelines set by the state. These include:

  • If the establishment cannot handle 33 percent capacity while enforcing social distancing requirements, they should further limit the number of patrons being served. Restaurants should implement reservations only or call-ahead seating policies to control the number and flow of diners.
  • Restaurants should use disposable menus, utensils, napkins, and condiments. They should discontinue use of tablecloths as well as buffets, salad bars, drink stations, or other self-service options.
  • Employees should wear masks and gloves. They should regularly disinfect dining surfaces, seating, workstations, and bathrooms. Roof says employees should also expect daily temperature checks and questions about their health.
  • Customers should wear face masks when not consuming food or drinks. They should use hand sanitizer or wipes before and after eating. Customers with a fever or COVID-19 symptoms will not be permitted to enter.
  • Like retailers, restaurants can establish a policy about serving customers who refuse to wear masks while in common areas.
  • Party sizes must be limited to 10 or fewer people. Only people from the same households should be seated at the same table.

“That’s going to be tough because you’re in the hospitality business,” says Roof. “The last thing you want to do is make your guests feel uncomfortable.”

Individual Responsibility Remains Critical

Beyond the requirements for business, Dr. Stack says it’s important for individuals to act responsibly as more establishments reopen. He says people still need to wear a mask in public and practice good hand hygiene and social distancing. Avoid people who aren’t wearing a mask or maintaining a six-foot distance. If you have a temperature or feel sick, stay home and consult with your doctor about medical care and coronavirus testing.

“We rely on the multitude of people to do what needs to be done,” says Dr. Stack. ”We’re not going to send police officers to arrest folks. We have to try to educate people and help them to understand why this is so critical.”

Allison Adams, director of the Buffalo Trace District Health Department in Maysville and chair of the Kentucky Public Health Association, agrees that officials should inspire people to follow the rules, not rely on coercion or force.

"From the local perspective, we’re really trying to inspire our folks that live in each of our 120 counties to do the right thing,” says Adams. “The messaging is more about how much you care about your fellow Kentuckians – to care enough about them enough to comply or adopt these Healthy at Home or Health at Work behaviors.”

Adams says local health departments have used the time when many establishments were closed to help educate business owners on how to prepare for reopening. If someone sees a business that is not complying with coronavirus rules, they can report the establishment to their local health department or call the state compliance tip line at 1-833-KYSAFER.

“When someone is alerted to the fact that someone’s paying attention to their behavior, it has a funny way of helping change behavior,” says Adams.

But Adams says she doesn’t think businesses will be penalized for violating the rules. Instead she says people can simply choose not to patronize those places.

Dr. Stack also encourages people to familiarize themselves with the business guidelines available at HealthyAtWork.ky.gov so you know what to expect when you visit an establishment. He says those that are in vulnerable populations should limit their outings to only the most essential activities.

“If you are over 60 or have a chronic major medical illness, you really ought to stay healthy at home because it is about to become more risky for you than it probably has ever been as people start to socialize.”

So far about 2,700 Kentuckians are known to have had COVID-19 and fully recovered. Dr. Stack says that still leaves the vast majority of citizens in danger and the health care system at risk of being overwhelmed if people return to pre-pandemic behaviors.

“Less than 5 percent less of Kentuckians have probably been infected, which means 95 percent or more are still vulnerable,” says Dr. Stack, “which means the entire crisis we have successfully averted is still waiting to happen.”

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Season 27 Episodes

The Economic State of the State

S27 E44 Length 56:34 Premiere Date 12/14/20

Reopening Kentucky Classrooms During a Coronavirus Surge

S27 E43 Length 56:33 Premiere Date 12/07/20

COVID-19's Impact on Kentucky's Health Care System

S27 E42 Length 56:34 Premiere Date 11/23/20

Understanding the Grand Jury System

S27 E41 Length 56:33 Premiere Date 11/16/20

Analyzing the 2020 Election and State Politics

S27 E40 Length 56:33 Premiere Date 11/09/20

2020 Election Eve Preview

S27 E39 Length 56:34 Premiere Date 11/02/20

Kentucky's U.S. Senate Race

S27 E38 Length 56:33 Premiere Date 10/26/20

Legislative Leaders Preview the 2020 General Election

S27 E37 Length 56:33 Premiere Date 10/19/20

Issues Affecting Kentucky's 4th Congressional District

S27 E36 Length 26:33 Premiere Date 10/12/20

Issues Affecting Kentucky's 3rd Congressional District

S27 E35 Length 26:31 Premiere Date 10/05/20

Previewing the 2020 General Election

S27 E34 Length 56:34 Premiere Date 09/28/20

Special Education, Student Mental Health and COVID-19

S27 E33 Length 56:33 Premiere Date 09/21/20

Challenges and Benefits of Remote Learning in Kentucky

S27 E32 Length 56:33 Premiere Date 09/14/20

The Impact of COVID-19 on Kentucky's Tourism Industry

S27 E31 Length 56:36 Premiere Date 08/03/20

COVID-19's Impact on Higher Education in Kentucky

S27 E30 Length 56:35 Premiere Date 07/27/20

Reopening Kentucky's Schools

S27 E29 Length 56:36 Premiere Date 07/20/20

Racial Disparities in K-12 Public Education

S27 E28 Length 56:27 Premiere Date 07/13/20

Police Reform Issues

S27 E27 Length 56:36 Premiere Date 06/29/20

Previewing the 2020 Primary Election

S27 E26 Length 56:33 Premiere Date 06/22/20

Kentucky Tonight: State of Unrest

S27 E25 Length 56:33 Premiere Date 06/15/20

2020 Primary Election Candidates, Part Four

S27 E24 Length 56:33 Premiere Date 06/08/20

2020 Primary Election Candidates, Part Three

S27 E22 Length 56:33 Premiere Date 06/01/20

2020 Primary Election Candidates, Part Two

S27 E21 Length 56:33 Premiere Date 06/01/20

2020 Primary Election Candidates, Part One

S27 E20 Length 56:33 Premiere Date 05/27/20

Reopening Rules for Restaurants and Retail

S27 E19 Length 56:33 Premiere Date 05/18/20

Debating Steps to Restart Kentucky's Economy

S27 E18 Length 56:33 Premiere Date 05/11/20

COVID-19's Impact on Primary Voting and Local Governments

S27 E17 Length 56:34 Premiere Date 05/04/20

Reopening Kentucky's Economy

S27 E16 Length 56:36 Premiere Date 04/27/20

Wrapping Up the General Assembly and a COVID-19 Update

S27 E14 Length 56:36 Premiere Date 04/13/20

Health, Legal and Voting Issues During the COVID-19 Outbreak

S27 E12 Length 57:23 Premiere Date 03/30/20

Kentucky's Response to the COVID-19 Pandemic

S27 E11 Length 58:03 Premiere Date 03/23/20

Finding Agreement on State Budget Issues

S27 E10 Length 56:34 Premiere Date 03/16/20

Election and Voting Legislation

S27 E9 Length 56:33 Premiere Date 03/09/20

State Budget

S27 E8 Length 56:36 Premiere Date 02/24/20

Debating State Budget Priorities

S27 E7 Length 56:34 Premiere Date 02/17/20

Medical Marijuana

S27 E6 Length 56:33 Premiere Date 02/10/20

Sports Betting Legislation

S27 E5 Length 56:36 Premiere Date 02/03/20

2020 Kentucky General Assembly

S27 E2 Length 56:37 Premiere Date 01/13/20

2020 Kentucky General Assembly

S27 E1 Length 56:34 Premiere Date 01/06/20

See All Episodes

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Early Childhood Education - S30 E42

Renee Shaw and guests discuss early childhood education. Scheduled guests: State Senator Danny Carroll (R-Benton), chair of the Senate Families and Children Committee and sponsor of the Horizons Act, SB 203, that addresses the child-care industry needs in Kentucky; State Senator Cassie Chambers Armstrong (D-Louisville), member of the Senate Families and Children Committee; Sarah Vanover, Ed.D., author of America's Child-Care Crisis: Rethinking an Essential Business, and policy and research director for Kentucky Youth Advocates; Kate Shanks, vice president of public affairs at the Kentucky Chamber of Commerce; Brigitte Blom, president & CEO of the Prichard Committee for Academic Excellence; and Andrew McNeill, president of Kentucky Forum for Rights, Economics & Education (KYFREE). A 2024 KET production.

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Abortion Legislation - S30 E41

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School Choice & Education Issues - S30 E40

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The State Budget - S30 E39

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Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) at Kentucky Colleges & Universities - S30 E38

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