COVID-19: Mosley gives Harlan update

Harlan County Judge-Executive Dan Mosley continues his work to keep Harlan Countians calm and informed through the use of Facebook and other resources. Mosley said “despite many rumors” there have not been any confirmed COVID-19 cases in the county as of Sunday.

“Governor Andy Beshear has announced that as of 8 p.m. on Monday (March 23), all non-essential retail businesses must close to the public,” Mosley said as he attached a comprehensive breakdown of essential verses non-essential items as expressed by the governor’s office. “The order is to protect the people of Kentucky from COVID-19 and is necessary to overcome the virus and save lives.”

Mosley said life-sustaining retail businesses that will stay open include grocery stores, pharmacies, banks, hardware stores, gas stations and other businesses that provide staple goods.

“Entertainment, sporting goods, clothing, shoe, jewelry and furniture stores, florists, bookstores and auto dealers are among those businesses that will close,” he said. “Non-essential retail businesses, while they cannot allow Kentuckians into stores, can still fill phone and online order through curbside services or delivery.”

Beshear said this is the “next step” Kentuckians must take to reduce contact and defeat COVID-19, adding there is “no need to rush grocery stores, pharmacies and gas stations that can remain open.”

“There is going to be enough essentials for everybody,” Beshear said.

Mosley added retail businesses that remain open must follow, to the fullest extent practicable, social distancing and hygiene guidance from Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Kentucky Department for Public Health.

“This includes ensuring physical separation of employees and customers by at least six feet when possible; ensuring employees practice appropriate hygiene measure and ordering sick individuals to leave the premises. Failure to follow the order could subject a business to closure.”

Earlier in the week, Mosley said he also had to make the “difficult decision” to remove picnic tables from community parks to discourage congregating.

“This is the only thing I can do at many of these parks because a lot of them are not fenced. I have had to close parks that have picnic tables that are bolted down under shelters at this time and gates have been locked to prevent congregating,” he said. “I apologize for this inconvenience, but we have to keep folks from congregating. I do not want to have to close all parks. If social distancing can’t improve, I will have no other choice.”

Mosley said the measure is to encourage social distancing Kentuckians have as a responsibility during the health crisis, adding children’s legal guardians should prohibit them from engaging in basketball games at the parks where the six-foot minimum distance could not be kept while playing defense. He also encouraged locals to practice good hygiene and carry hand sanitizer with them while in public.

Below is a list of “life-sustaining retailers” that will stay open via executive order:

Motor vehicle: Automotive parts, repair, accessories and tire stores; Auto, truck and van rental;

• Building material, garden equipment and supplies dealers;

• Banks, credit unions, check cashing, wire transfer and other financial services;

Food and beverage: Grocery stores; Supermarkets; Specialty food stores; Meat markets; Fish and seafood markets; Fruit and vegetable markets; Beer, wine and liquor stores;

• Pharmacies and drug stores;

• Gasoline stations and convenience stores;

General merchandise: General merchandise stores, including warehouse clubs and supercenters;

Miscellaneous: Pet and pet supplies stores.