Health

Kentucky museums, outdoor attractions, aquariums, libraries and distilleries will be allowed to reopen starting June 8, Gov. Andy Beshear announced during his Tuesday briefing. 

He said they’re still working out specific guidance for these industries, but “this gives these businesses some advance notice.”

Like retail and restaurants, which have reopening dates this week, these businesses will have to operate at 33% capacity and individual groups must be 10 or less.

Beshear said he hopes to see the Louisville Zoo reopen this summer as well. But his administration hasn’t spoken to any zoo officials yet. 

As more of the state’s economy starts to resume business, the governor issued a reminder of some of the key safety measures: mask wearing, enforced social distancing, frequent sanitation, and temperature and health checks. 

“You can object to a mask on your own personal health, but it’s… going to impact other people’s health,” he said. “So it’s more about your willingness to protect other people if you’re wearing or not wearing one. [And] temperature checks are one that are so important, because shame on us if we miss that blatant sign that somebody might be infecting other people.”

He said, if we do it “the way we did before, it won’t work,” and we run the risk of not only spreading the virus, but having to roll things back.

And in light of the upcoming holiday weekend and an easing of gathering restrictions that will allow groups of up to 10, he asked people to use caution.

“This is our first chance to get together with people we have missed,” he said. “We want to reopen our economy. We want to get things humming again in a safe way. This weekend, we can’t screw it up.”

Kentucky’s public health commissioner Dr. Steven Stack echoed the governor’s tone.

“Our individual actions have direct implications and consequences for others,” he said.

Stack said those who plan to gather over the Memorial Day weekend should host their events outdoors, practice social distancing, wear face coverings, don’t share food, utensils or plates, wash your hands often or use hand sanitizer, and avoid touching your face.

Watching The Numbers

The governor reported 164 new cases of coronavirus Tuesday, bringing the state’s total to 8,069. He said 90 of those are still probable. He also announced 20 new deaths.

Beshear said that, while the number of new cases appears to be plateauing, the state’s rate of infection has dropped, “according to just about everybody who tracks it.”

The prevalence of the virus is what he’s kept his eye on, as well as hospital occupancy. 

“One of the reasons we took the drastic steps that every state took was concern that it would overwhelm our health care capacity and it would have if we didn’t take those steps,” he said.

As Kentucky reopens, he wants to make sure the hospitals continue to have a sufficient number of rooms, beds, ventilators and personal protective equipment. 

He said that’s why the reopening plan is a gradual one and “a lot of this we got to watch in real time,” to decide if and when they can increase capacity for certain industries. 

Childcare And Summer Camps

Beshear had previously announced that daycares and outdoor youth sports could reopen starting June 15.

Tuesday night, he said his administration hopes to release guidance for childcare facilities by the end of this week and, if summer camps can meet those requirements, then they can reopen as well. Summer camps involving sports will have to meet the sports requirements because “there’s different levels of contacts with sports.”

“Basically those summer camps, childcare, are gonna have the same types of regulations out there that need to be met,” he said. “Mainly that’s going to be a capacity level of any individual class or group how small it can be, and it can’t come into contact with other groups.”

Other Reopening Updates

Beshear said there are “still a lot of issues” to work through with other kinds of activities that can be popular during the summer months. There’s no guidance or open date yet for things like live performances or bingo halls. Though he did offer the suggestion of a drive-in scenario for concerts. 

During the Q&A section, Beshear said the state isn’t “going to let up on our ban on evictions,” at least in the next few weeks.

“You still need to be healthy at home,” he said.

And there’s also no date set for driving tests to resume. Though he said they are working through some options for driver’s license renewals.

Stephanie Wolf is WFPL's Arts Reporter.