Beshear Says Social Gatherings Of 50 Reduced Back To 10 Or Under: Also Recommended Quarantine To Those Traveling To Hot Spot States
Darren Doyle, story:
As a result of a spike in coronavirus cases over the weekend, specifically Sunday, which showed 979 new cases, Governor Beshear announced new guidelines today, which included a new travel advisory and a pullback on the guidance for mass gatherings. The daily number of positive cases as well as the rolling seven-day average showed Kentucky seeing its positivity rate on COVID-19 tests jumping from around 2% in mid-March to about 4% in recent weeks.
The new travel advisory recommends a 14-day self-quarantine for travelers who went to any of eight states – Alabama, Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Nevada, South Carolina and Texas – that are reporting a positive coronavirus testing rate equal to or greater than 15%. The advisory also includes Mississippi, which is quickly approaching a positive testing rate of 15%, and the U.S. Territory of Puerto Rico.
“This is a recommendation," said Dr. Steven Stack, commissioner of the Kentucky Department for Public Health. "This is an advisory. I’m telling you what you need to do to stay safe,” he said. “The economic difficulties are real. The isolation this has caused for a lot of folks. Problems with deferred medical care. We’re aware of these things. They pain us. The pandemic has worsened all of them. The way we avoid many of those things is taking the steps to control our destiny, wearing those masks and socially distancing.”
Gov. Beshear also announced that the Cabinet for Health and Family Services has issued a new order that pulls back on guidance covering social, non-commercial mass gatherings. On June 29, the original guidance was eased to allow for gatherings of 50 or fewer people. Today’s order returns the guidance to allow only for such gatherings of 10 or fewer people. The guidance, which does not apply to weddings, restaurants, retail or other public venues, went into effect today at 5 p.m.
Churches can still gather for in-person services, as they were excluded from the Mass Gatherings Order by a U.S. District Judge on May 9th, 2020.
Much of the other guidance on mass gatherings remains intact, including mandates on barring sick people, requiring face coverings and social distance, and a ban on sharing food and drinks. People hosting such gatherings also are encouraged to host the events outdoors when possible, and sanitize high-touch surfaces.
“We’re seeing clusters created by our backyard barbeques, our block parties, and it’s because we let our guard down, said Beshear. "We have a lot of friends over and we know them. We figure they’re probably doing everything right. We take off our masks, we relax, we get too close, we stand around while people are grilling and we’re seeing some very difficult outcomes because of it. So much depends on us trying to stop this thing before it gets out of control.”
It is important to note, the travel advisory is a recommendation only, and the non-commercial Mass Gathering Guidelines that reduce gatherings from 50 to 10 are via executive order.