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Kentucky high court upholds governor’s COVID-19 orders

Kentucky capitol

The Kentucky Supreme Court on Thursday upheld Gov. Andrew Beshear’s executive orders establishing a state of emergency in the state, ordering business closures, requiring the wearing of personal protective equipment and — while not identified in the ruling — providing disability benefits on presumption for certain essential workers who contract COVID-19.

Three Kentucky businesses had challenged the constitutionality of the executive orders, which included an April 9 directive requiring that temporary and total disability be given to workers who test positive for COVID-19 based on the nature of their employment. The order names health care workers, childcare workers, first responders and correctional officers as among those who qualify. The original lawsuit, NO. 20-CI-00678, was filed in Boone Circuit Court.

In unanimously upholding a lower court ruling, the Kentucky Supreme Court said the governor was justified in his emergency orders and that they didn’t violate the state constitution.

“Even if some Plaintiffs arguably have established irreparable harm to their businesses, that alone is insufficient to justify an injunction precluding enforcement of emergency orders and regulations directed to the protection of the health and safety of all Kentuckians,” the Supreme Court said. “Applying our time-honored injunction standard, the law and equities favor the Governor in this matter.”

More insurance and workers compensation news on the coronavirus crisis here