Governor outlines new COVID-19 related restrictions, says more to come

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FRANKFORT, Ky. (KT) --  Kentuckians are bracing for a new round of Covid-19 related restrictions, following Gov. Andy Beshear’s Wednesday press conference. Most of the restrictions go into effect Friday and will last for three weeks.

Beshear prefaced his announcement by saying, “When addressing COVID-19, action is unpopular, but inaction is deadly.”

The restrictions go into effect on Friday, November 20 at 5:00 p.m. local time and run through 11:59 p.m. on Sunday, December 13.  They include:

  • Restaurants, Bars – No indoor food or beverage consumption; carryout and delivery encouraged as is socially distanced outdoor seating.

  • Private social gatherings – Up to eight people from a maximum of two households.

  • Gyms, fitness centers, pools, other indoor recreation facilities – 33% capacity limit; group classes, team practices and competitions prohibited; masks must be worn while exercising.

  • Venues, event spaces and theaters – Each room will be limited to 25 people. This applies to indoor weddings and funerals but excludes in-person worship services, for which the Governor will provide recommendations Thursday.

  • Professional services – Office-based businesses limited to 33% of employees; all employees who are able to work from home must do so; all businesses that can close to the public must do so.

  • Schools – All public and private schools (K -12) to cease in-person instruction:
    • Middle and high schools will remain in remote or virtual instruction until at least Jan. 4, 2021.

    • Elementary schools may reopen for in-person instruction on Dec. 7, if their county is not in the red zone and the school follows all Healthy at School guidance.

To help offset the financial impact on restaurants and bars, the Governor also announced he is dedicating $40 million in CARES Act funding to provide qualifying entities $10,000 in relief for various expenses, with a maximum award of $20,000 per business entity.

Businesses with at least 50% of their sales via drive-through will not be eligible.  To focus on locally owned businesses, publicly traded companies are not eligible to apply.  Applications are scheduled to open on Nov. 30 and close on Dec. 18.  Businesses will be required to remain in compliance with all public health orders.  Applications will be processed in the order they are received, and funds will be awarded until they are exhausted.  Additional details on where to apply will be forthcoming.

Earlier this month, the Governor also waived alcoholic beverage renewal fees for Kentucky restaurants, bars and temporary venues for 12 months to help during the pandemic. 

Beshear reported 2,753 new positive cases of COVID-19 for Wednesday, the 4th highest single-day number, according to the Governor.  “Our top five highest days ever in this virus pandemic, have all been in the last week.”

He said 292 of those cases were among those who are age 18 and under, bringing the total number of positive cases in Kentucky to 144,753, since the first one was reported on March 6.

You can read the full executive order here.

To view the fill daily report, incidence rate map, testing locations, long-term-care and other congregate facilities update, school reports, red zone counties and recommendations, the White House Coronavirus Task Force reports for Kentucky and other key guidance go to kycovid19.ky.gov.

Gov. Beshear will hold his final scheduled virtual press briefing of the week Thursday afternoon at 4:00.

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