September 9, 2020

UPDATED: New Kentucky Travel Guidelines Released

On May 4, 2020, a federal district court issued a preliminary injunction preventing enforcement of Kentucky’s travel ban. [Roberts, et. al. v. Neace, et. al., 2020 WL 2115358, Civil Action Number 2:20CV054 (E.D. Ky 2020)]. The injunction prevents enforcement of the March 30, 2020, and April 2, 2020, travel bans until a final ruling can be reached in the case. Footnote 5 of the court’s opinion acknowledges minor amendments to the travel ban may alleviate the issues.

On May 6, 2020, the governor issued Executive Order 2020-315, repealing the prior travel ban orders and issuing travel guidelines consistent with the court’s guidance. With the prior orders repealed, it is unclear when, or if, the court will proceed with review of the new order. Until then, the new travel guidelines are enforceable. The new order states, in relevant part:

This Order allows travel into or out of the Commonwealth of Kentucky, including travel that originates and ends outside of the Commonwealth. However, any individual entering the Commonwealth of Kentucky with the intent to stay is asked to self-quarantine for fourteen (14) days, unless traveling:

a. When required by employment;
b. When as part of their normal life live in one state and work or deliver services in another state;
c. To obtain groceries, medicine, or other necessary supplies;
d. To seek or obtain care by a licensed healthcare provider;
e. To provide care for the elderly, minors, dependents, persons with disabilities, or other vulnerable persons; or
f. When required by court order.

This is a significant departure from the prior order which required self-quarantine upon return to the state.

The court ruling and subsequent travel guidelines complicate application of the Emergency Paid Sick Leave (EPSL) provisions of the Families First Coronavirus Relief Act. Cities are required to provide EPSL to employees that are subject to a federal, state, or local quarantine or isolation order related to COVID-19. Until the injunction on May 4, this included employees who violated the Kentucky travel ban and were required to self-quarantine for 14 days upon return. Travel occurring between the court’s injunction and the new order would not trigger EPSL as there was no order from May 4 to May 6. Going forward, cities will need to work with their city attorney to determine whether the new travel guidelines rise to the level of a state order to isolate or quarantine as contemplated by EPSL. If the city is going to rely on the May 6 Executive Order to require an employee to isolate at home, the city will likely need to provide any unused EPSL to the employee for the isolation. Keep in mind, the CDC is still strongly recommending reducing travel and the Kentucky travel guidelines are in line with the CDC recommendations.

For cities that have required use of EPSL for violation of the Kentucky travel ban prior to May 4, KLC recommends discussing the issue with your city attorney and continuing to monitor developments in this case. Additionally, cities will want to review their orders on EPSL and amend orders that discuss the Kentucky travel ban. An updated sample can be found on the KLC COVID-19 Resources Page.

For more information, please contact KLC Personnel Services Manager Andrea Shindlebower Main