FRANKFORT, Ky. (FOX19) - Restaurants will return to a capacity limit for indoor seating and freestanding bars will close statewide in Kentucky starting Tuesday, Gov. Andy Beshear announced.
Under the governor’s order, indoor capacity at restaurants will be limited to 25%.
While restaurants will be reducing their indoor capacity, Gov. Beshear said outdoor capacity can remain the same with proper social distancing.
“On restaurants, again, they can do unlimited outdoor seating as long as they can sufficiently spread guests out under social distancing guidelines, and we are going to work with our cities and localities to do what we need to do administratively to allow that outside seating to expand,” Gov. Beshear said.
The closure of bars will last for two weeks.
This is going to hurt a lot of restaurants, but the White House modeling shows that this is absolutely necessary to control the spread at this time when we either become the next Florida, or we get it under control and save the lives of our people and protect our economy,” explained Gov. Beshear.
The Governor says the changes they are making fall in line with the Federal Government recommendations for a state that is trending in the direction Kentucky has been trending in.
The first two steps, statewide mask mandate, and limit on social, non-commercial gatherings to 10 people are less, are already in place for Kentucky.
Implementing these steps for bars and restaurants, the governor said he thinks gives Kentucky a chance to get this [COVID-19] better under control, unlike Florida and Texas.
“At a time when Kentucky is dealing with a surge in the coronavirus, knowing where other states have gone and knowing what it takes to stop it from happening here, let’s remember that we’re going to get through this, and we’re going to get through this together, but it’s going to require us to do what’s necessary,” the governor said. “Wherever you live in Kentucky, the virus is spreading. Our state government and the federal administration have significant agreement on what we need to do right now to make sure we don’t turn into Florida, Texas, Arizona, so many other states going through what could be absolutely devastating for them.”
Gov. Beshear recalled a conversation with White House Response Coordinator for the Coronavirus Task Force Dr. Deborah Birx where she told him both Texas and Florida needed to take these steps weeks ago.
To not become like Florida and Texas, the governor said Kentucky needs to act now.
As he discussed these steps for restaurants and bars, Beshear also gave a recommendation for schools.
He encourages schools to post-pone in-person lectures until the third week of August.
“By waiting until the third week of August, we believe it gives us a chance to get this thing under better control, to get more people wearing that facial covering and to get us in a place where we can handle this in a much better way,” said Gov. Beshear. “My concern is if schools start before this, we’ll see cases in schools. And if we see a lot of early cases in schools, it will be harder to get all of our schools open for in-person classes in some way that works for those families.”
This recommendation comes as 21 more kids under the age of five tested positive for the coronavirus in the past 24-hours, according to the governor.
The youngest of these new cases is an 11-day-old kid.
Statewide, Kentucky reported an additional 522 more COVID-19 cases. The state’s overall case total is now 27,601.
The state’s positivity rate is now at 5.58%, which the governor said is up a little bit.