Beshear Mandates Masks In Executive Order
Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear announced Thursday he signed an executive order mandating people to wear masks in public places to prevent the spread of coronavirus.
The order goes into effect at 5:00 p.m. Friday. Beshear said the order will start out running 30 days. He said the mandate will be enforced by local health departments and others.
“It’s going to be as simple as if someone won’t wear a mask in your place of business, then they cannot be served.”
Beshear said customers in retail facilities, grocery stores and most forward facing businesses must wear a mask. He said if people are indoors or outdoors and can’t get six feet away from others, then they must wear a mask.
Beshear said if people have a significant health condition, they do not have to wear a mask.
“If you have a health condition and somebody asks why you’re not wearing a mask, just politely talk to them about it. Now, if you have a health condition which means you can’t wear a mask, well you need everybody else wearing a mask, don’t you?” Beshear said.
Other exceptions include children under five and people who are exercising six feet away from others.
Beshear said consequences for not wearing masks for individuals will start with a warning. He said “chronic refusal” could lead to a fine. He said businesses who do not try to enforce the rule will face significant consequences.
“I will tell you that I know individuals that went to a restaurant in western Kentucky just this weekend, maybe three days ago, and none of the employees were wearing masks. That would result in the shutdown of the restaurant.”
Beshear said science shows that wearing a mask helps to prevent the spread of coronavirus. He said if Kentucky does this, he believes the state can keep businesses open at current occupancy levels.
“If we do this and if we really do it, not just when we think other people are watching, I believe we can keep restaurants open at 50%. I believe we can keep retail open at 50%. I believe that we can keep the things that we have opened up open and if we do it I think we have a shot at sports that other states are worried about right now,” he said. “But it’s on us.”
Beshear said he hopes cases will decrease significantly in the 30 days under the order. He said state officials will then look at whether they need to extend it.
Beshear confirmed 333 new cases of coronavirus in the state Thursday, bringing the total cases to 18,245. He said 457 Kentuckians are currently in the hospital and 457 are in the ICU. A total of 4,939 have recovered. Beshear also reported four new deaths.