(by Stevie Lowery and originally published by The Lebanon Enterprise)
The first phase of re-opening Kentucky’s economy began Monday, with many businesses being allowed to re-open. However, there are certain requirements all businesses and industries are expected to meet in order to re-open safely.
TG Kentucky, one of Marion County’s largest employers, has continued operating with a very limited workforce during the COVID-19 pandemic, but is expected to gradually get back to more normal operations later this month, according to Melanie Mattingly, TGKY general manager, human resources.
“TGKY will be ‘phasing work’ in based on the ramp up demands from our customers,” Mattingly said. “Only the team members needed to manufacture the required parts will be asked to come to work. We will also be staggering shift start times and break and lunch periods to lessen contact opportunities.”
One issue many working parents are facing is a lack of childcare, with daycares not allowed to reopen yet. According to Mattingly, many of TGKY’s team members are trying to find alternatives to public childcare when possible. But, she said TGKY is following government guidelines pertaining to team members whose childcare providers have shut down due to COVID shutdowns.
“Team members who do not have alternative child care will remain off until day cares open,” Mattingly said.
According to Mattingly, as TGKY team members and temporary employees return to work, TGKY will require them to complete a wellness questionnaire and a temperature screen daily. All team members, temporary employees, visitors and contractors will also be required to wear face masks along with completing a health screen, Mattingly said.
TGKY has also increased its cleaning measures, cleaning frequently touched items (railings, door knobs, etc.) often. Hand sanitizer and cleaners will also be readily available throughout the plant, Mattingly said. Common areas (restrooms, water fountains, wash stations, etc.) are marked off to enforce social distancing, she said.
“These are just a few of the many things that TGKY has put in place to keep our team members safe,” Mattingly said. “TGKY cares about each and every one of our team members and has been working diligently to provide a safe work environment during this unprecedented time. We hope everyone is taking care of themselves and look forward to returning to work very soon.”
In an effort to help local, small business owners and industries get some of the required protective materials needed to reopen, several local groups and government agencies teamed up to provide “Project Rebound.” As a result of the collaboration, 16,000 masks have been purchased, Lebanon Water Works Company is producing disinfectant and hand sanitizer has been gifted to the community from Beam Suntory.
The first distribution of the safety materials took place this past Monday, May 11, when masks, hand sanitizer and disinfectant were distributed to businesses of 25 and fewer employees in the parking lot of Lebanon City Hall.
According to Daren Thompson, operations and management superintendent of Lebanon Water Works Company, Monday’s distribution was a “huge success.”
“It’s a great example of how entities can work together to make Marion County an awesome place to live,” he said. “W helped over 145 businesses and over 1,040 employees with disposable masks, hand sanitizer and bleach disinfectant. We distributed over 2,200 masks, 149 bottles of hand sanitizer and 115 buckets of bleach.”
Hand sanitizer and masks were also distributed to senior citizens in Lebanon, Raywick, Loretto, Calvary and Bradfordsville.
There will be another Project Rebound distribution on Tuesday, May 19, from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m., beside the David Hourigan Government Building, 223 N. Spalding Ave, in Lebanon.
A third distribution will take place on or before June 20.
The protective materials will be distributed to businesses on an “as requested” basis as long as supplies last. The supplies are only available to Marion County businesses, churches, etc.
Project Rebound is a collaboration of the Marion County Chamber of Commerce, Marion County Industrial Foundation, Lebanon Water Works Company, the City of Lebanon, Marion County Fiscal Court and Beam Suntory.
According to Pat Ford, executive director of the Marion County Industrial Foundation, the collaboration has put Marion County in a much better position than many communities in Kentucky and beyond.
“We are so much better off than so many of our counterparts,” he said.
If businesses still need bleach disinfectant before the next distribution on May 20, they can call the Lebanon Water Works Company’s office, 270-692-2491 to schedule a pickup. The 5-gallon buckets of bleach concentrate cost $5 per bucket. Lebanon Water Works Company would like to recycle the blue containers handed out on Monday, and ask that businesses return the containers to the Lebanon Water Works Company when they have utilized the contents of the jug. For more information on Project Rebound, contact the Chamber office at 270-692-9594.