Amid a surge of coronavirus cases in Kentucky and across the nation, Gov. Andy Beshear is recommending that Kentuckians traveling to states with high rates of coronavirus infections quarantine for 14 days once they return.
Beshear also announced a rollback of part of Kentucky’s reopening plan. Social gatherings will once again have to be 10 or fewer people, down from 50 people allowed as of the beginning of July.
The crowd restrictions don’t apply to businesses like restaurants or wedding venues which are regulated by the state’s reopening plan.
Saying the fight against coronavirus “is going to be a lot longer than we hoped,” Beshear said Kentucky still wasn’t at the point where he thinks the state needs to further reduce restaurant capacity or close bars.
“We know what an impact it would have on our restaurants and on our bars at the moment. They’re small businesses, they employ a lot of people,” Beshear said.
The White House has recommended that states with coronavirus spikes require masks to be worn in public places, restaurant capacity to be at 25% and all bars to be closed.
Beshear has imposed a masking requirement, which remains in effect while Republican Attorney General Daniel Cameron challenges it in court. Bars and restaurants in Kentucky are currently allowed to operate at 50% capacity.
The travel advisory applies to states with rates of positive coronavirus tests that are higher than 15%. That currently applies to Alabama, Georgia, South Carolina, Arizona, Idaho, Texas, Florida, Nevada and Mississippi.
The announcement comes as Kentucky is experiencing its own spike in coronavirus cases. On Sunday, the state announced 979 new cases, by far the largest daily increase during the pandemic.
Beshear attributed Kentucky’s spike to backyard barbecues, Fourth of July festivities and people being lax with social distancing and masking requirements.
“Just trying to take those steps first before we have to take these, but I want people to know what’s being recommended if we hit an Arizona-type level and I hope that we don’t,” Beshear said.
Gov. Andy Beshear announced 258 new cases of coronavirus in Kentucky on Monday, though he said the number is artificially low because many testing centers are closed on Sunday.