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What does it mean when the Governor declares a state of emergency?

A state of emergency allows state or city leaders to move all levels of its government into action.

FRANKFORT, Ky. — Friday, Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear announced that state's first confirmed case of the coronavirus. He then issued a state of emergency, as has every governor in a state with a confirmed case of the coronavirus.

Here's what a state of emergency means and why governors and city leaders declare them.

A state of emergency allows state or city leaders to move all levels of its government into action. According to the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials' (ASTHO) website, the following actions can follow after a state of emergency has been declared:

  • Activation of state emergency response plans and mutual aid agreements.
  • Activation of state emergency operations center and incident command system (ICS).
  • Authority to expend funds and deploy personnel, equipment, supplies, and stockpiles.
  • Activation of statutory immunities and liability protections for those involved in response activities.
  • Suspension and waiver of rules and regulations (and statutes, if allowed).
  • Streamlining of state administrative procedures such as procurement requirements.

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Here's what Kentucky's current state of emergency means as it relates to the coronavirus.  [READ FULL TEXT HERE]

“NOW, THEREFORE, I, Andy Beshear, Governor of the Commonwealth of Kentucky, by virtue of the authority vested in me by Chapter 39A of the Kentucky Revised Statutes, declare that a State of Emergency exists in the Commonwealth of Kentucky and do hereby order and direct the issuance of appropriate state active duty orders for the necessary officers, troops, personnel, equipment, including the resources of the Kentucky National Guard and other logistical support necessary for an immediate response to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) emergency in the Commonwealth. 

"I further order and direct as follows"

  1. The Division of Emergency Management within the Department of Military Affairs and the Kentucky Department of Public Health shall coordinate the response and relief activities of all state agencies and private relief organizations in response to the COVID-19 emergency described herein.

  2. The Division of Emergency Management within the Department of Military Affairs shall execute the Kentucky Emergency Operations Plan and, from the Kentucky Emergency Operations Center, shall coordinate the relief and response activities of all state agencies and private relief organizations in response to this emergency.

  3. The Adjutant General is authorized to issue active duty orders for the mobilization of such National Guard personnel and equipment as he may determine to protect life and safety, to continue essential public services, and to prevent undue loss and suffering.

  4. The Division of Emergency Management is authorized to request assistance, federal, state, local, private sector, volunteer, and donated resources as may be available to minimize human suffering and to restore essential services to the general population and to assist state and local governments and individuals impacted by this emergency.

  5. The Finance and Administration Cabinet is directed to provide assistance with incident resource management, procurements, and contracting and to fund the urgent operational and/or response of the Division of Emergency Management and the unbudgeted expenditures and obligations of other state agencies that are incurred in response and recovery from this emergency incident and in executing the provisions of this Executive Order.

  6. The Kentucky Department of Public Health and all other state agencies shall provide sufficient personnel required for the staffing of the Kentucky Emergency Operations Center or other command, control, and coordination points as may be designated by the Division of Emergency Management’s Director and shall provide such personnel, vehicles, equipment, and other resources needed to protect life and property and to ensure continuation, restoration, and recovery of essential public services.

  7. The Kentucky Office of Homeland Security (“KOHS”) shall provide information to individuals and private organizations, including volunteer and religious organizations, regarding how they can best prepare for and respond to the COVID-19 emergency described herein and whom to contact to volunteer help or services. Further, the KOHS shall specifically identify and encourage private organizations to commit to provide food, shelter, personnel, equipment, materials, consultation, and advice, or other services needed to respond to the COVID-19 emergency. Additionally, the KOHS shall coordinate its efforts with the federal Department of Homeland Security, as necessary, and administer the Kentucky Intelligence Fusion Center to facilitate information sharing about COVID-19 among public safety and public service agencies at the federal, state, and local levels, as well as the private sector.”

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Kentucky state of emergency declaration.