FRANKFORT, Ky. – Gov. Andy Beshear said Sunday that all nonessential retailers are being ordered to close within about 24 hours and that he is mandating all elective medical procedures end. The latest actions by the Governor are intended to help protect Kentuckians and halt the spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19).
Gov. Beshear announced 103 confirmed cases, and said Kentucky remains at three deaths related to COVID-19. The Governor said that more than 2,000 tests have now been performed and of those tests, the average age of someone who has gotten the virus is 53.3 – and that the intensive care rate is about 6 percent. That lower number is a testament to how our hospitals are doing and we appreciate you, he said.
“It’s probably going to get tougher before it gets easier, but we are resilient people and we can and we will do this together,” Gov. Beshear said. “I fully agree with those who say this is the challenge of our generation. Some people refer to our grandparents’ generation as the greatest generation in coming together both abroad and at home to overcome an adversary. The one that we face is not like one we have seen in our lifetime. Instead of bringing us closer, it brings us further away physically. We know we are fighting for the most vulnerable among us. We are already proving we are willing to put the health and lives of our fellow Kentuckians above our economic interests.”
Gov. Beshear also acknowledged today was difficult for many Kentuckians who could not attend their worship services.
“I want to thank all the churches who abided by the guidance and did not hold in-person services, but found ways to get their messages out online or in creative ways and I thank all the churches who rang their bells at 10 a.m. today,” Gov. Beshear said.
He implored those who refused to listen to the guidance to stop undoing the work of other congregations who have listened and to stop endangering their congregations.
Each day, Gov. Beshear is holding briefings at 5 p.m. ET for Kentuckians online on his Facebookand YouTube pages. Gov. Beshear said he appreciates the many local TV and radio stations that are streaming the briefings, which help to ensure more Kentuckians are learning how to be good teammates and hearing the best advice on how to stop the spread of the virus.
Gov. Beshear urged all Kentuckians to keep doing their part to help stop the spread, including following the new orders and to not gather in public and to follow social distancing by staying at least six feet apart from others.
As of 5 p.m. March 22, the state’s COVID-19 patient information includes 103 who have tested positive. Click here for the list with details. Additional cases and demographics of other cases mentioned were not known by 5 p.m. ET Saturday so not all cases are listed.
Nonessential retailers to close
Gov. Beshear announced that all in-person retail businesses that are not life sustaining will close effective Monday, March 23, 2020, at 8 p.m. The order is to protect the people of Kentucky from COVID-19 and is necessary to overcome the virus and save lives.
Life-sustaining retail businesses that will stay open include grocery stores, pharmacies, banks, hardware stores, gas stations and other businesses that provide staple goods. A full list of categories of life-sustaining, in-person retail businesses is attached to the order.
Entertainment, sporting goods, clothing, shoe, jewelry and furniture stores, florists, bookstores and auto dealers are among those business that will close. Nonessential retail businesses, while they cannot allow Kentuckians into stores, can still fill phone and online orders through curbside services or delivery.
“This is the next step that we need to take to reduce the contacts among Kentuckians until we can defeat this virus,” Gov. Beshear said. He said there is no need to rush to grocery stores, pharmacies and gas stations that can remain open. “There is going to be enough of the essentials for everybody,” he said.
Retail businesses that remain open must follow, to the fullest extent practicable, social distancing and hygiene guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Kentucky Department for Public Health, which includes ensuring physical separation of employees and customers by at least six feet when possible; ensuring employees practice appropriate hygiene measures and ordering sick individuals to leave the premises. Failure to follow the order could subject a business to closure.
Elective procedures to end
Gov. Beshear said he previously recommended that all elective medical procedures cease, but said tomorrow he would mandate they stop. He said the additional action was necessary since some groups have failed to follow the order and that more restrictive actions were needed to protect Kentuckians.