Beshear limits bars, restaurants to outdoor seating only, restricts private gatherings, postpones all sports
FRANKFORT, Ky. (WAVE) - Governor Andy Beshear announced 2,753 new positive cases of COVID-19 Wednesday, the fourth-highest number of cases announced in one day since March. The governor said the top five highest number of cases confirmed were all in the last week.
Fifteen more Kentuckians were confirmed to have died of the coronavirus.
“We are in very difficult times where we’re seeing a lot of cases and a lot of loss,” Beshear said.
The total number of confirmed cases of the virus in the state now sits at 144,753, and the positivity rate stands at 9.13%.
At least 530 of Wednesday’s new cases were from Jefferson County.
There were 32 more hospitalizations due to COVID confirmed, bringing the statewide total to 1,553. At least 359 patients are in intensive care and 176 are on a ventilator.
As part of the effort to stop the current spike in cases, Beshear announced a slew of restrictions that will be enforced beginning Nov. 20 until at least Dec. 13. Violators will be reported to the state health department.
“We are not going to surrender to this virus, we’re going to fight back,” the governor said before listing activities affected. “This is not and will not be a shutdown. Our economy is open. [There is] no categorizing businesses as essential or nonessential.”
The state will require bars and restaurants to only serve patrons outdoors or through carryout. No indoor dining will be allowed.
The governor said $40 million in federal funds awarded to Kentucky have been set aside to assist businesses affected by the restrictions.
Beshear also said private gatherings should be limited to only two households or to eight people in total. Gatherings in settings such as weddings or funerals should be limited to only 25 people per room with social distancing in place.
“These are targeted decisions,” he said. “Let’s make sure they work.”
Gyms will be restricted to only 33% capacity and masks will be required. Beshear said group classes will not be allowed.
Winter sports have also been postponed until Jan. 4, as decided by the Kentucky High School Athletic Association. However, football playoffs will still go on as scheduled.
“We are awaiting a final copy of the order so we can clarify for our schools,” KHSAA Commissioner Julian Tackett told WAVE 3 News.
The governor said recreational facilities will be closed, meaning sports practices indoors will be prohibited, though individual practices will be allowed with masks.
As far as education in the commonwealth, the governor said all schools are advised to have children return to virtual learning if they have not already done so. Elementary schools will be allowed to welcome students back to in-person instruction on Dec. 7 if the school’s county is not in the red zone, and middle schools and high schools can have students return in January after the holiday break.
Beshear said no retail stores will face further restrictions in an effort to keep the economy open as long as mask-wearing, sanitizing and social distancing continues to be enforced.
The governor said enough strides have been taken in the last seven months to prevent a full economic shutdown.
“I don’t think another shutdown is on the table,” he said. “We are not going to surrender to this virus, we’re going to fight back.”
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