Health

Gov. Andy Beshear has announced that all bars and restaurants in Kentucky will close to in-person traffic starting 5:00 Monday evening in response to coronavirus.

Beshear also announced the first death due to the disease in Kentucky — a 66 year-old man from Bourbon County, who Beshear said had “numerous” other health factors.

Beshear said that the death should underscore why Kentuckians should try to help stop the spread of the disease.

“We are thinking about him and his family,” Beshear said. “It just reminds us that while we have to remain calm and we’re going to get through this, it is serious and it truly impacts people,” Beshear said.

As Monday morning there are 21 confirmed cases of coronavirus in Kentucky. The disease has been documented in Jefferson, Fayette, Harrison, Nelson, Clark, Bourbon and Montgomery counties.

The emergency order closing bars and restaurants will have exceptions for drive-thru, takeout and delivery services. Beshear encouraged Kentuckians to still support the businesses and said his family would try to order takeout three times per week.

“We have to take the steps to make sure we are protecting our people and this is a necessary one,” Beshear said.

Beshear also announced that the state capitol building in Frankfort would be closed to non-essential employees starting tomorrow morning.

He said that state lawmakers would likely have an announcement on how the rest of this year’s legislative session will transpire.

The most important thing lawmakers have to do by the April 15 deadline is pass a new two-year budget. Beshear said that lawmakers should quickly pass a budget now and left the door open for calling lawmakers back to amend it at a later date.

“We are to the point we’re going to have to get through this coronavirus and see what investments we can make at that point,” Beshear said.

Beshear also said two state government officials in are in self-isolation — Transportation Cabinet Secretary Jim Gray, the former mayor of Lexington, and Edith Halbleib, the executive director of the Kentucky Infrastructure Authority.

Ryland Barton is the Capitol bureau chief for Kentucky Public Radio.