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Beshear announces new restrictions for Kentucky

November 18, 2020 | 4:37 pm

Updated November 18, 2020 | 5:50 pm

Graphic by Owensboro Times

Gov. Andy Beshear unveiled a handful of new temporary restrictions Wednesday. Those include further limitations on private gatherings, venue spaces, and gyms/recreation facilities; closing bars and restaurants to indoor service; and requiring public and private schools to cease in-person learning. 

“Today we’re announcing significant but surgical and targeted steps designed to slow the virus and protect our people,” Beshear said. “These steps range from three to six weeks in duration and are designed to have the maximum impact with as little disruption — there will certainly be disruption — as possible.”

Beshear said. there will be no categorizing businesses as essential or nonessential and asking them to close. Retail is not being restricted any further, though businesses are still required to enforce the mask mandate. Hospitals are also not being asked to curtail any of their elective procedures.

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In speaking with Owensboro Times about the new restrictions, Senator Matt Castlen was audibly upset with Beshear’s announcement.

“I can say that as a Senator of the district, I’ve already pre-filed a bill — and will be pushing hard in the general assembly to see that it’s passed — so that the power can be given back to the people’s branch of government so that we don’t have to experience what we’re seeing today as an absolute government overreach,” Castlen said. “I will fight it at every corner when we go into session this year.

New Restrictions

Schools
In effect beginning Nov. 23 to various dates

Public and private schools must cease in-person learning beginning Nov. 23. Middle and high schools will remain in remote instruction until Jan. 4. Elementary schools may reopen Dec. 7 if their county is not in the red zone and the school follows all Healthy at Schools guidance.

“If we are going to be able to provide meaningful educational experiences and in-person especially at the beginning of next semester, we have to take action now and we’ve all got to do it at the same time,” Besehar said.

Steps have been taken in consultation and agreement with the Kentucky Commissioner of Education and the chair of the Board of Education.

Bars and restaurants 
In effect Nov. 20 at 5 p.m. to Dec. 13 at 11:59 p.m. 

Bars and restaurants will be closed for indoor service. Outdoor dining, delivery and carry-out may continue, as long as the mask mandate and seating rules are enforced. Beshear said packed patios will result in further changes on what these venues can and cannot do.

To attempt to provide some relief, Beshear announced a $40 million dollar fund to assist restaurants and bars impacted by this step. Entities that qualify will receive $10,000 to use for various costs.

Applications will be accepted Nov. 30 through Dec. 18 online. The relief is available to businesses operating as bars and restaurants currently. Businesses with at least 50% of their sales via drive-thrus will not be eligible. Business may not be owned by a publicly traded company. All businesses must certify that they’re going to be in compliance with the governor’s orders and remain in compliance with the executive orders and public orders.

Private gatherings 
In effect Nov. 20 at 5 p.m. to Dec. 13 at 11:59 p.m.

Private indoor gatherings are limited to your current household (who you live with on a regular basis) plus one other household, not to exceed a total of eight people. 

“We see far too much of the virus happening at family gatherings and neighborhood events,” Beshear said. “The result is often multiple family members hospitalized, some on ventilator or even worse outcomes.”

Indoor venues, event spaces or theatres
In effect Nov. 20 at 5 p.m. to Dec. 13 at 11:59 p.m.

Events such as weddings and funerals will be limited to 25 total participants per room. These recommendations do not apply to in-person services at places of worship, which will be receiving recommendations Thursday.

Gyms, fitness centers and pools; Indoor sports/recreation 
In effect Nov. 20 at 5 p.m. to Dec. 13 at 11:59 p.m.

Gyms will be at 33% occupancy and masking will now be required. Group classes are prohibited. Similar businesses such as pools and bowling alleys are also limited to 33% capacity. 

At indoor recreation facilities, no practices will be allowed — including sports such as for cheerleading or martial arts — though individual lessons are allowed if masks are worn.

Professional services 
In effect Nov. 20 at 5 p.m. to Dec. 13 at 11:59 p.m.

Office-based businesses should have all employees who are able to work from home. When possible, businesses should close to the public, and if open maintain 33% of their employees at most and their facility at one time. 

November 18, 2020 | 4:37 pm

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