Face Covering Mandate Extended Another 30 Days: Bars to Reopen, Restaurants To Increase Capacity to 50%
Darren Doyle, story:
Governor Andy Beshear announced today in a press conference that administration officials, in consultation with Kentucky teachers and school administrators, he is recommending schools meet via virtual classes only until the end of September.
“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.
The Edmonson County Board of Education previously approved the 2020-21 school calendar and the first day of classes beginning on September 8th.
Superintendent of Schools Brian Alexander said no changes have been made to the school calendar at this time; however, the board will soon make a decision regarding the Governor's recommendation.
"We're aware of the Governor's recommendations and we're looking at all aspects of this situation, just like we've done from the beginning," he said. "We are working on multiple plans because as we've said all along, this is a fluid situation and we need to be ready to adjust. We will continue making the best possible decisions for the students, faculty, and staffs of Edmonson County Schools and will keep the public updated as soon as possible with any changes that are made."
Bars & Restaurant Order:
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.
Face Covering Mandate Extended for 30 More Days:
“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.”