Starting Friday, It's 'No Mask, No Service' In Kentucky
Masks will go from optional to mandatory in most public settings in Kentucky under a new executive order signed by Gov. Andy Beshear.
"It's time to get serious," the Democrat warned during a Thursday media briefing. "It's time to stop our escalation now."
Without decisive action and public buy-in, he said, the commonwealth risks repeating the mistakes of other states where coronovirus cases have exploded in recent days.
The order calls for nearly all Kentuckians to wear face coverings in most public settings, with a handful of exceptions, including those under five and people with severe asthma and other prohibitive health conditions. The health department-enforced requirement is set to expire in 30 days, unless, Beshear said, the numbers continue climbing and residents buck the new safety measures.
"If people do what they want to do and they don't follow the restrictions, we will see more people get the virus, we will see more people die, we will have to roll back parts of our reopening, reduce capacity at different businesses. We will will probably have problems opening schools," the governor said. "This is on us."
The governor also had strong words for a Scott County judge who issued a temporary restraining order against the administration, a move Beshear said would allow nearly 550 agritourism sites to operate without any restrictions at all.
"This is dangerous and devastating, and for a court to say 'I guess I just don't believe the virus exists and you don't have to do anything, no social distancing, nothing else' is absolutely irresponsible," the governor responded, later adding, "I'm just going to do the right thing. They've got the choice to do the right thing. If they don't, that's ok. I'm going to do it for them."
Thursday saw 333 new cases of coronavirus and four deaths in Kentucky, with a rising number of positives among younger people. Fully 40 percent of cases now affect Kentuckians under 40, according to the state.