Executive order gives churches OK to continue 'life-sustaining' efforts


FRANKFORT, Ky. (KT) – Gov. Andy Beshear’s new executive order issued Wednesday morning spelled out what businesses and organizations can keep operating during the COVID-19 pandemic because he considers them “life-sustaining” in nature.

Among those he mentioned in the order that could remain active were organizations that provide charitable and social services. That includes business and religious and secular non-profits, including food banks.

That gives the green light for Kentucky Baptist churches, which offer specific life-sustaining efforts like providing meals for families and children almost daily.

Also included were organizations like Kentucky Baptist Disaster Relief that is experienced at providing meals in times of catastrophic situations. The organization is considered one of the finest in the country in responding to disasters and last week donated 11,500 desperately needed N95 respirator masks to hospitals and medical centers throughout Kentucky.

Disaster Relief volunteers are scheduled to assist with a school feeding program in the Caldwell-Lyon County area, in association with Kentucky Baptist churches, the first week of April. A team traveled to Murray, Ky., last weekend to help with senior citizens but was asked to stand down because enough volunteers were able to serve in the community.

Cornerstone Fellowship, a storefront church in Covington with about 75 members, served 625 meals from Wednesday to Sunday last week, according to pastor Mike Rowe. The northern Kentucky church is one of many of the 2,360 Kentucky Baptist churches that often provide for the most impoverished families on a regular basis.

Churches of all denominations are doing much of the same kind of work throughout the commonwealth even though they haven’t gathered together, except for livestreams, on Sundays because of the virus. The churches are asking to meet together, just to keep serving their communities.

All businesses or organizations allowed to remain open must follow social distancing and good hygiene practices, such as frequent hand washing, regularly cleaning equipment and disinfecting frequently touched objects and surfaces.

In Beshear’s eight-page order, he said all businesses “that are not-life sustaining” must close by 8 p.m. Thursday “except as needed to conduct minimum basic operations.”

Among businesses allowed to stay open include: grocery stores, drug stores, banks, hardware stores, agricultural operations, gas stations, media, businesses needed for transportation, logistics, shipping, delivery and pick-up, housing, building and construction, laundry, home-based care and services, professional services and hotels.

His prior orders remain in effect, including actions halting bar and restaurant in-person visits, though drive-thru, takeout and delivery can continue.


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