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State Advising Delay For Kentucky Schools, Reopening Bars. Here's Why.

Karyn Czar

Kentucky schools, restaurants, and bars received new guidance Monday as the state adapts its strategy in the ongoing fight against COVID-19.

The Beshear administration is recommending schools push back in-person classes to at least September 28th. The reasoning, according to Lt. Gov. Jacqueline Coleman, is that "right now, our best bet is to give our schools time to prepare, give the virus time to die down a little bit, and to make sure we respect that folks that wake up every morning and go to work to serve our kids every day."

Gov. Andy Beshear also cited surges seen in other states where schools have moved faster to reopen their doors, and the potential for added disruption if schools start for only a handful of days or weeks only to pivot back to remote learning after an outbreak. The recommendation would not apply to colleges and universities, which Beshear described as more nimble and better equipped to contain outbreaks.

Districts, like Fayette County, that have already decided on online classes for the start of their school year are being encouraged to proceed with those plans.

On the flip side, restaurants and bars will see an easing of restrictions. The current rules, the governor argued, are driving more Kentuckians toward even riskier, unstructured house gatherings. In response, the state is allowing restaurants to return to 50 percent indoor capacity and bars to reopen with an 11 PM curfew.

The reasoning behind the recommended closure time, Gov. Beshear explained, has to do with decreased compliance as the night wears on.

"What we've seen is that the night goes longer, maybe as people have been out a little bit longer, that they are less likely to follow the rules and restrictions that that bar is probably trying to impose,"the governor said.

Judging exactly where the state stands with regard to coronavirus trends became a little more difficult Monday, with the announcement that an IT issue had caused the state to withhold some cases until they can be verified. The result is that this week's case counts are likely to be revised upward in the coming days.

For now, Beshear said he still believes the commonwealth has successfully put the brakes on an "exponential" curve, but the state remains at what he hopes is the "apex" of the pandemic.

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