Gov. Beshear addresses importance of masks to keeping businesses open

Gov. Beshear addresses importance of masks to keeping businesses open

FRANKFORT, Ky. (FOX19) - Days after a statewide mask ordinance went into effect, Gov. Andy Beshear reiterated the importance of wearing facial coverings and their role in keeping things open.

About an hour after the governor of California announced the reclosing of some businesses, Gov. Beshear said he doesn’t want this to happen to Kentucky.

“There are multiple states now rolling back their reopening,” the governor said. “I don’t want that to be us.”

To prevent Kentucky businesses from reclosing the governor said people need to wear a facial covering even if they are against it.

One business here in the Tri-State made headlines recently when they showed what they think about this mask ordinance.

Patrick Townsend, who owns Town’s End Bar in Florence, shared the video of himself with around 20 customers standing arm and arm with no one wearing a mask.

“We’re Americans. We’re going to do what we want,” Townsend can be heard saying at the start of the video.

Townsend said the governor’s mask ordinance “is a basic intrusion of our civil liberties.”

The Florence bar owner said he fears this order will hurt his business, but on Monday, Beshear responded by saying “this [mask order] is the only thing that’s going to keep you [Townsend] open.”

Gov. Beshear compared the history of arguments against wearing seatbelts to the current disagreements on wearing a mask.

“We wear seatbelts, don’t we? And I hope none of us would argue right now that a seatbelt is an infringement on our personal liberty,” Gov. Beshear said. “I don’t know if you remember, the history of seatbelts had the same kind of arguments we’re seeing against masks right now. But seatbelts aren’t even the same as wearing face coverings because your decision not to wear a seatbelt might result in you dying, but your decision not to wear a mask could result in you and other people dying. I consider the mask requirement more like a DUI law. You can’t do something where you could potentially harm somebody else. It’s not forever, it’s just until enough people can get this vaccine and we know our people are safe.”

The governor also explained how masks are vital to reopening Kentucky’s economy, opening schools, and slowing the spread of the coronavirus.

Kentucky’s recent positivity rate is now at 4.35%, which is “up fairly significantly from a few weeks ago,” Gov. Beshear said.

[The positivity rate is based on a seven-day rolling average, according to the Kentucky Department of Public Health.]

480,372 total tests have been conducted in Kentucky, with 19,653 of those being positive for the coronavirus, the governor announced on Monday.

The number of new cases reported by Gov. Beshear on Monday was 277.

After four more deaths were announced Monday, the governor said 629 total Kentuckians have died from the coronavirus.

For a full list of testing sites in Kentucky, click here.

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