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Survey: Kentucky Businesses See Different Routes To Reopening

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AP Photo/Carlos Osorio
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A survey of Kentucky businesses shows owners split on exactly what needs to happen before the economy reopens in the commonwealth. Key questions revolve around dates, testing, and coronavirus case trends.

The Kentucky Chamber of Commerce survey of 443 businesses, most with under 50 employees, showed strong support — 67 percent — for a phased-in approach to reopening government. There was less agreement, however, on how business should ramp back up.

Chamber president Ashli Watts spoke with WUKY before the survey results were published.

"It can't just happen overnight," she said. "There are supplies that have to be procured. Their workforce has to go back to work. There are a lot of different steps to make sure that we're opening in the safest and most effective and meticulous way possible."

The survey, performed over 10 days in mid-April, showed 27 percent felt the economy should reopen after May 1 and when there is "sufficient testing." Just 10 percent of respondents said a proven treatment was necessary before businesses could start to reopen. About a third of survey-takers pointed to other factors — like the number of cases and healthcare readiness — as key data that should drive economic decision-making.

Nearly half of businesses reported they were unsure if current federal assistance is adequate, with just 20 percent saying it's been helpful.

If shutdowns continue past April 30, 59 percent of businesses said they expect layoffs and other salary changes, while only 4 percent anticipate permanently close their doors if the government restrictions run into May.

Kentucky began gradually easing healthcare sector restrictions Monday, clearing the way for medical clinics, physical therapy providers, chiropractors, optometrists, and some dental offices to reboot services.

Josh James fell in love with college radio at Western Kentucky University's student station, New Rock 92 (now Revolution 91.7). After working as a DJ and program director, he knew he wanted to come home to Lexington and try his hand in public radio.
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