Gov. Beshear recommends schools delay in-person classes until Sept. 28
The governor issues more guidance for bars and restaurants
FRANKFORT. (WBKO) - Gov. Andy Beshear provided the last update on COVID-19 in Kentucky.
“Let me start by reiterating that we are still in a very difficult, dangerous place with a virus that is spreading so significantly right now,” the Governor said. “One of the foremost experts this morning talked about it raging in the United States. I believe we have stopped the exponential growth, but we can’t just stay where we are. We have got to start decreasing our cases.”
Beshear recommended Kentucky schools wait to begin in-person classes until September 28. The governor said it didn’t make sense to go to classes for a couple of days and then have to cancel it because of infections. He said holding in-person classes while Kentucky’s COVID-19 cases were at a peak instead of a decline “is something that would defy logic.”
“Our recommendation today is that schools wait to begin in-person classes until Sept. 28,” the Governor said. “Yes, that’s six weeks from now, but it’s also six weeks from what I hope is the peak of this virus, six weeks from the last three weeks where we have been at an all-time high week in and week out, six weeks from a time when we just had a 6% positivity rate. Let’s face it, we’re trying really hard and we’ve taken good steps. Masks are working. But we do not have control over this virus. And to send tens of thousands of our kids back into in-person classes when we don’t have control of this virus, it’s not the right thing to do for these kids, it’s not the right thing to do for their faculty and it’s not the right thing to do as Governor.”
He said the decision was driven by four factors: Kentucky’s cases being near a peak, an increase in infection rates among children across the U.S., the experience of school districts in other states and families continuing to travel to hotspots for vacations against the advice of health officials.
“I think what all of the health care specialists said when we talked about reopening, is we need to be looking at a decline. In other words, we need to get our positive rate down,” the Governor said. “On top of that, what we’re seeing are more outbreaks and more infections in kids. The two hardest things I do every day is read the deaths and the number of kids infected under 5. And it’s not just kids under 5. We’re having record numbers of children that are infected, and it shows this infection spreads to them when we still don’t know the long-term impact. What we do know is children have a harder time social distancing. And we can’t put a whole bunch of them in a classroom with a teacher right now. Other states that have tried to open this new school year are now having to close. We don’t want to start and stop. That may be more difficult on our children.”
Beshear said a computer glitch would cause Monday’s COVID-19 totals to be artificially low. He said the numbers would have to be revised.
“Today’s number needs to have a giant asterisk on it, because we know that number is higher and will change,” said Gov. Beshear.
Beshear reported 275 new COVID-19 cases bringing the total cases since the beginning of the outbreak to 35,254. He said there were two additional deaths raising the death toll to 775.
The deaths reported Monday include a 60-year-old woman from Graves County and a 98-year-old woman from Lincoln County.
“We hope we are getting even better at treating this virus,” said Gov. Beshear. “But these are two families that still need our support, our green lights, those bells and most important, for us all to do the things we know will help prevent more tragic loss.”
As of Monday, there have been at least 700,417 coronavirus tests performed in Kentucky. The positivity rate currently stands at 5.71%. At least 8,738 Kentuckians have recovered from the virus.
La Tasha Buckner, the Governor’s chief of staff and general counsel, offered an update on bars and restaurants operating in the commonwealth.
“Today we are issuing a new order, effective tomorrow, which will allow bars to reopen and restaurants to increase their capacity,” Buckner said. “Both bars and restaurants can operate at 50% of capacity, as long as people can remain six feet from anyone who is not in their household or group.”
She said the reopening and increase in capacity comes with new requirements to avoid another spike in COVID-19 cases. First, customers in both bars and restaurants will be required to remain in their seats, except when entering, leaving or using the restroom.
Second, bars and restaurants will be required to halt food and beverage service by 10 p.m. and close at 11 p.m. local time.
“Third, as the Governor mentioned previously, the face-covering requirement has been extended as of Sunday for another 30 days,” Buckner said. “Therefore, just like in other businesses, all customers and staff must wear a face covering while in the bar or restaurant except when actively eating or drinking.”
The full list of requirements is posted on the Healthy at Work website.
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