FRANKFORT, KY (WOWK) — Bars are closing for two weeks in Kentucky as part of the state’s plans to slow the spread of COVID-19 following recent spikes of the virus.
Restaurants will also begin serving guests at a limited 25% capacity, according to Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear. Outdoor dining may still continue as long as the tables are far enough apart for social distancing, according to Beshear.
Both of these steps will go into effect Tuesday, July 28, 2020.
Beshear also recommends schools wait until at least the third week of August before resuming in-person classes. He says this will allow the state to get the virus better under control before students return to school.
“Now is the time for us to act,” Beshear said. “The trend is undeniable. We are in an escalation where our positivity rate continues to increase.”
“I don’t want to be the state where casket makers run out of caskets,” Beshear said imploring people to wear masks and avoid house parties.
Beshear says these decisions have been made based on recommendations from the White House to control the spread of the virus in states where the positive test result rate is escalating.
The state has already taken two other steps recommended by the White House by issuing a mask mandate for Kentucky on July 10, 2020, and limiting gathering sizes on July 20, 2020.
“This is not outside of our control,” Dr. Steven Stack, Commissioner for the Kentucky Department for Public Health said. “Our actions can have a positive impact in this.”
Stack also reminded Kentuckians scientific data now shows wearing masks does help protect from spreading the virus, unlike the early days of the pandemic when there was not enough data to show if the masks would be useful.
You want to keep Kentucky open? Wear a mask whenever you go out. Wear a mask whenever your near anyone else.Dr. Steven Stack, Commissioner for the Kentucky Department for Public Health
Beshear says the steps are being put in place now to avoid situations other states face, such as Florida surpassing New York in its case count. He also says Dr. Deborah Birx, Response Coordinator for the White House Coronavirus Task Force says many of these cases are possibly due to people being unknowingly exposed to the virus.
We have significant concerns about the rising test positivity rate and the rising number of cases. We can see what is happening in the south moving north. The current wave of infections is very much across the state, probably due to people being exposed unknowingly when they are out and about, who have then brought those infections back to their homes and back to their home counties.Dr. Deborah Birx, Response Coordinator for the White House Coronavirus Task Force
Last week, Beshear issued a travel advisory requesting anyone coming back to Kentucky from an area where the state positivity rate is above 15% to self-quarantine for 14 days. He also reduced the size of gatherings in Kentucky to 10 people.