One of Covington’s greatest strengths is its unique small businesses.
Area’s ‘red zone’ status brings new safety recommendations
COVINGTON, Ky. – Covington officials are urging the public to support the city’s small businesses as an escalation of COVID-19 cases has pushed Kenton County into “red zone” status, bringing new recommendations designed to mitigate the spread of the highly contagious and sometimes fatal respiratory disease.
“These are alarming numbers, and we cannot ignore them,” City Manager David Johnston said. “I know we’re all weary of adjusting our lives, but we need to act decisively and in concert with each other in the short term to make things better in the long run.”
At the same time, Johnston added, “we recognize that Covington’s small businesses – especially its restaurants and bars – are in a fight for survival. By adhering to these safety precautions while also shopping online and ordering food on a carryout basis, we can protect these businesses and their employees.”
Kenton County and neighboring Campbell County are two of 68 Kentucky counties elevated to “red zone” status based on the number of new cases.
On Thursday, Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear announced 1,821 new cases of COVID-19 and 19 additional deaths in the Commonwealth, bringing the total number of cases to 103,305 and deaths to 1,461.
And the trend is alarming: Thursday’s daily total was the third-highest single-day increase of new infections since the start of the pandemic, following Wednesday’s the second-highest daily increase and Tuesday’s fourth-highest.
Beshear said a record 969 people in Kentucky are hospitalized with the virus, including 234 in intensive care and 120 on ventilators.
Acting on the advice of state health officials, Beshear recommended nine temporary but specific steps for people living and working in “red zone” counties. These are on top of overall good safety practices like wearing masks, social distancing, and washing your hands often:
- Employers allow employees to work from home when possible.
- Non-critical Government offices to operate virtually.
- Reduce in-person shopping; order online or curbside pickup.
- Order take-out; avoid dining in restaurants or bars.
- Prioritize businesses that follow and enforce mask mandate and other guidelines.
- Reschedule, postpone or cancel public and private events.
- Do not host or attend gatherings of any size.
- Avoid non-essential activities outside of your home.
- Reduce overall activity and contacts, and follow existing guidance, including 10 steps to defeat COVID-19.
Covington officials urged residents and employers to take the recommendations seriously. “By acting now, we can get Kenton County back out of the ‘red zone,’ ” Johnston said.
In a press release this afternoon, NKY Health’s District Director of Health, Dr. Lynne M. Saddler, called the “red zone” status Northern Kentucky’s “wake-up call.”
“We all need to refocus our actions on the protective measures we are taking in our daily lives and to assure we are doing everything we can to protect ourselves and others from exposure,” Dr. Sadler said. “Health officials are concerned that ongoing increases in cases in the community will start translating into more hospitalizations as it has in other parts of the country.”
Covington Economic Development Director Tom West said small businesses were counting on their customers.
“One of Covington’s greatest strengths is our retailers, bars, and restaurants,” West said. “Most of them are locally owned so they don’t have the same national resources the big chains have to fall back on, but that is what makes our community so cool and unique. If we want every one of these small businesses to be around after the pandemic, we need to take these steps now.”
Meanwhile, the City continues to market emergency assistance programs to its businesses, including:
- Mortgage and rent help for small businesses, HERE.
- And larger assistance for certain businesses that employ low- and moderate-income families or are located in those areas, HERE.
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