Dr. Steven Stack, commissioner for the Kentucky Department of Public Health gets emotional today while addressing Kentuckians on the massive effect the coronavirus has had on not only the physical health but emotional health of all.
As Governor Andy Beshear and his staff prepare for a third battle round with the coronavirus this year, restrictions are being put in place to slow the spread and prevent more Kentuckians from becoming infected, overwhelming the health care systems, and dying.
In effect Friday, November 20 at 5 pm through Sunday, December 13 at 11:59 pm, restaurants and bars will be closed to indoor dining. Outdoor seating is still an option if customers can safely social distance and follow the other rules set forth by the administration. Heated tents are still a possibility as long as distance is created between tables and parties that are seated are not to exceed eight at a table. Also, there should be no more than two families per group.
Governor Beshear is launching assistance to restaurants to the tune of $40 million through the coronavirus relief fund or CARES Act. Chief of Staff La Tasha Buckner addressed Kentuckians regarding how the money will be used. She said that eligible restaurants will receive $10,000 to help mitigate the financial pain businesses will more than likely suffer. If a business owner has multiple restaurants, the relief money is capped at $20,000. This isn’t a loan, this is federally-funded money that doesn’t need to be repaid.
Restaurants are required to be in operation at the time of this executive order. Restaurants that have 50% or more sales by drive-thru won’t be eligible for the funding. Buckner said, “This is more to help the mom and pops”
Gyms are to keep occupancy rates at 33%. There is to be no group classes in gyms. Group practice sessions such as cheerleading and martial arts studios are also prohibited. The Governor said that much of the spread has happened in these types of settings. You may have individual classes while wearing mandatory masks. In addition, KHSAA is postponing all sporting activities through December 13.
Indoor venues, event spaces or theaters can host no more than 25 people per room. this includes funerals and weddings. This doesn't apply to places of worship - rules to be issued Thursday.
Pools, bowling alleys, and similar businesses are to remain at 33% capacity. Other businesses that can keep employees at home should or they need to be at 33% capacity.
Beginning Monday, November 23, K-12 will transition to remote learning. Only those counties that are no longer in the red zone will return to in-person learning December 7. Middle school and high school students will begin remote learning on November 23 as well. However, these students won’t go back until after Christmas break on January 4, 2021.
Governor Beshear said that 10,000 school age children and 2,000 faculty members were in quarantine at the same time and this scenario could happen again. Colleges and universities will start remote learning on Monday, November 23 until Spring semester.
The hope is for Kentucky to make it through two virus cycles before opening the state up again. He said, “Everyone needs to do this at the same time. We all need to swing for the fence at the same time.”
There will be no additional restrictions to retail businesses and hospitals will still carry on with elective surgeries if necessary. Beshear said COVID-19 is now the third leading killer in the United States.
The commissioner for the Kentucky Department of Public Health Dr. Steven Stack spoke to the public today. He discussed two vaccines that should be available within days to help fight the virus. He got emotional as he was speaking about the toll the coronavirus has taken on Kentucky. He said, “I’m sorry folks, It’s been months since I’ve gotten emotional.”
The enforcement of the new executive order will be easier from prior restrictions, according to Beshear. He said, “We can look inside restaurants and see if the rules are being followed.” He said most of these restricted businesses have licenses making it easier to enforce the rules. Beshear said, “I’ll take the blame. I’ll be the person that says no.”
Beshear said, “It’s time to re-up the mask mandate and reinforce the rules.” As we shut down and regroup, it’s an effort that needs to be followed by all Kentuckians.