FRANKFORT, Ky. (FOX19) - Gov. Andy Beshear says he is lifting two important restrictions days earlier than he originally intended: limits on gatherings of 10 people and the state’s travel ban.
Groups of 10 or fewer people will be able to gather beginning May 22, the governor said. Originally the restriction was to be lifted May 25.
Also on May 22, the state’s travel ban will expire.
The governor cited the state’s flattened case curve in moving the dates forward, saying he’s seen “very positive signs” from general testing numbers.
He also acknowledged the on-the-ground realities surrounding Memorial Day weekend, saying his job is to get Kentuckians to adhere to restrictions in place, which naturally depends upon their tolerance for those restrictions.
On gatherings of 10 people, Beshear advised they should be held outside, social distancing should be maintained, food and drink containers and utensils should not be shared, masks should be worn and people should avoid touching their eyes, face and mouth.
The governor added at-risk individuals should not gather.
“That’s not fair, but the virus isn’t either, and we know how deadly it is,” he said.
Beshear also updated guidance on retail and restaurant reopening. That can be found at Kentucky’s Healthy at Work website.
On cases, Kentucky has 199 newly confirmed cases of COVID-19 for a total of 7,225 on 121,246 tests.
Some 365 Kentuckians are hospitalized and 220 are in the ICU, both slightly up from Wednesday.
At least 2,712 have recovered.
Two new deaths were also reported Thursday.
Beshear generally continued Wednesday’s upbeat tone, all but sounding the victory bell in the state’s battle with the virus.
“Our story in Kentucky will be that we protected each other, everything from social distancing to testing to partnerships to how we’ll do the contact tracing,” he said. “It’ll be that we protected each other during this, Kentuckians for Kentucky.”
As for schools returning to in-person classes, Beshear had this to say Wednesday: “I desperately want to get there. We have got to get in a position to do it safely. That is why we are doing all this planning.
"That is my goal, to try to have this virus in a place where we can send our kids back to school in the fall.”
Meanwhile, hospitals and healthcare facilities resumed non-emergency surgeries and procedures at 50 percent of their pre-pandemic patient volume on Wednesday. Hospitals now also have the discretion to allow one visitor per patient.
Several other sectors have already reopened: Horse racing (w/out spectators), manufacturing and distribution, office-based businesses, construction, pet grooming and boarding, photography and vehicle or vessel dealerships have followed.
On May 18, government offices and agencies are set to reopen, and retail and funeral services are scheduled to reopen May 20.
See the full reopening schedule here.