FRANKFORT – Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear issued two more executive orders Sunday that will result in the wide closures of several types of businesses and services today in the ongoing attempt to stop the novel coronavirus COVID-19.
In his daily update from inside the Kentucky State Capitol, Beshear announced that all non-essential retail businesses will have to cease operations to in-house customers by 8 tonight. This applies to entertainment-related establishments, sporting goods stores, clothing stores, shoe stores, jewelry establishments, book stores, florists, furniture dealers and automobile dealers.
However, Beshear said that, in regards to automotive businesses, auto repair and parts establishments will remain open. He also said all of the mentioned businesses can exercise curbside service, as well as delivery, much in the style of statewide restaurants that were ordered to cease in-house dining, but could continue to function through drive-through or carry-out orders.
In making the announcement Sunday, Beshear said these orders are necessary because the biggest issue right now is fighting the virus.
“Just like with restaurants and bars last week, these are your dreams and I understand that,” he said. “But I hope you understand that in making this order, it’s going to take this kind of sacrifice and continuing to take more steps each day to do what we need to do.”
Sunday, Beshear also said that last week’s suggestion that medical establishments halt elective procedures for at least 30 days would now become an order. He thanked numerous establishments throughout the commonwealth that took this initiative last week. As has been the case in other matters so far, such as gatherings in public places, he said he sometimes has no choice but to issue orders to make others comply and fall in line with what he said is the ultimate mission — the defeat of an illness that has basically paralyzed the world.
“We’re going to have to continue these steps to reduce the number of contacts there are out there,” he said.
These directives came on a day Kentucky went over the century mark for the number of reported cases. With 16 new cases reported throughout the commonwealth Sunday, that sent the number to 103 as the numbers continued to dramatically increase over the last several days.
On Wednesday, the number of cases was only in the 20s. Included in the new cases Sunday was a second reported case in nearby Christian County. The only other western Kentucky case was in Henderson County.
Calloway County had its first reported case confirmed on Friday.
“There are more obviously than yesterday, but we expected this. This is the way this virus works. This is no surprise,” Beshear said. “But I’m happy to report there are no more deaths today (Kentucky confirmed its third on Saturday). That was hard to do yesterday.
“So far, I believe we have had 2,000 tests administered in Kentucky. The average age of our patients is 53.3 and it looks like — while the hospitalization rate among those that tested positive and those that have significant symptoms is somewhat high — the intensive care unit rate is at about 6%. That is a testament to how well our hospitals are doing right now. For someone who is very sick and is in a hospital, our hospitals are doing an excellent job.
“Folks, this is why we’ve talked about elective surgeries because we’ve got to have all of this capacity right now to make sure everybody gets that care they need.”