Gov. Andy Beshear announces several new restrictions

Coronavirus Watch Kentucky

(WEHT) — Governor Andy Beshear announced several new restrictions to try to stop the spread of COVID-19 Wednesday.

The announcement came after Beshear announced “exponential growth” related to COVID-19 and the fourth highest day for new cases with 2,753. Beshear says the top five highest days have been in the last week. 15 new deaths were also announced.

All public and private K-12 schools are to cease in-person instruction beginning November 23. Middle and high school will stay remote until January 4, 2021. Elementary schools may reopen December 7 if the county is not in the red zone and the school follows at Healthy at Schools guidelines.

The following restrictions are in effect from Friday, November 20 at 5 p.m. local time to Sunday, December 13 at 11:59 p.m.

  • Restaurants are closed to indoor dining. Delivery and to-go is allowed, as well as outdoor dining if mask mandates and other things are followed.
  • Indoor social gatherings- limited to your current household plus one other household, eight people or less
  • Indoor venues, event spaces or theatres (includes funerals and weddings) – no more than 25 people per room
  • Gyms, fitness centers and pools: 33% occupancy, must maintain 6 feet apart, group classes prohibited, masks required

To help offset the financial impact on restaurants and bars, the Governor also announced he is dedicating $40 million in CARES Act funding to provide qualifying entities $10,000 in relief for various expenses, with a maximum award of $20,000 per business entity. Businesses with at least 50% of their sales via drive-through will not be eligible. To focus on locally owned businesses, publicly traded companies are not eligible to apply. Applications are scheduled to open Nov. 30 and close Dec. 18. Businesses will be required to remain in compliance with all public health orders. Applications will be processed in the order they are received, and funds will be awarded until they are exhausted. Additional details on where to apply will be forthcoming.

Madisonville Mayor Kevin Cotton told us after the announcement that he wasn’t surprised by the new restrictions.

“We’ve seen deaths from this virus here in our community and we will continue to see deaths in our community from this virus. That is something we are really trying to curb, and reduce the number of cases we see in our community,” Cotton said.

Cotton has heard from residents and business owners the past few days on what could be announced and says it’s going to be up to everyone to do their part to lower the number of cases across Madisonville and Kentucky.

“That’s what we’ve seen from the beginning. When we’re buckling down, when we’re following these mandates, we’re going to see these numbers start reducing,” Cotton said. “But if we continue to go with business as usual, we’re going to continue to see those numbers climb.”

Mayor Cotton also says the newly announced fund to help small businesses should help keep their doors open during the time the new restrictions are in place. He encourages residents to shop local as well.

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(This story was originally published on November 18, 2020)

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