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Beshear gives Friday update on COVID-19 response, reopening Ky.

Restaurants reopened, new voter portal unveiled
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Posted at 4:21 PM, May 22, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-22 19:46:27-04

FRANKFORT, Ky. — Gov. Andy Beshear gave an update Friday on COVID-19 cases and plans to reopen dining rooms across the commonwealth.

Watch a replay of the briefing in the player below:

Restaurants reopen Friday

Restaurants across Kentucky reopened at 33% dine-in capacity plus outdoor seating Friday. Restaurants have been instructed to limit parties to 10 or fewer guests, and to separate tables by at least six feet. Employees will be required to wear masks while interacting with customers.

The state also advises that restaurants use disposable menus, napkins, table cloths, disposable utensils and condiments when possible. Self-serve buffets and salad bars will also be closed if employees cannot offer buffet service.

Restaurants must also create mask policies for customers, which may include refusing to serve guests who aren't wearing a face mask while away from their table or around others.

For more guidelines for restaurants and customers, click here.

Beshear said bars will remain closed until July because it's harder to regulate social distancing inside bars than in restaurants, but bars can still operate as restaurants by offering food service at tables outside.

Additionally, the governor's restrictions on interstate travel expired Friday.

On Thursday, Beshear added new dates for reopening horse parks, auctions, large-group gatherings and more. See WCPO's timeline for the full list of event reopenings in Kentucky and around the Tri-State.

TIMELINE: Kentucky, Ohio and Indiana reopening plans

Voting in Kentucky's primary

Sec. of State Michael Adams unveiled a new web portal where Kentuckians can check their voter registration status and request absentee ballots for the primary elections.

There are four ways to vote in Kentucky: in-person on election day, June 23; in-person early voting before June 8; absentee by mail; and absentee ballots returned to your local elections board before election day.

Since the state is "not able" to mail ballots to everyone automatically, Sec. of State Michael Adams said those who want an absentee ballot to either mail back or return to local elections boards can visit GoVoteKy.com.

“It makes it easy to vote, and it makes it hard to cheat,” Adams said.

You can check your voter status and update your information at Elect.Ky.Gov. Both sites are mobile-friendly, Adams said.

The deadline to register to vote is Tuesday, May 26. The deadline to request a primary absentee ballot is June 15.

MORE: Kentucky gets in line with mail-in voting

Case numbers and testing

Beshear reported five new virus-related deaths Friday, and there have been 391 virus-related deaths among 8,426 total positive COVID-19 cases statewide. NKY Health reported 1,065 total local cases and 57 virus-related deaths as of Thursday.

More than 3,000 people have recovered from coronavirus, and more than 171,338 people have been tested so far. Beshear said though 40 virus-related deaths have been reported in just three days, the numbers continue to show a "plateauing" of cases.

A free drive-thru COVID-19 testing site will remain open in Erlanger at 25 Atlantic Ave this week. You can call 1-800-737-7900 to schedule an appointment.

For a complete list of coronavirus testing sites in Kentucky, click here.

Childcare reopening in June

Cabinet of Health and Family Services Sec. Eric Friedlander announced Thursday that in-home daycare will be able to open June 8, with center-based licensed childcare resuming June 15.

Friedlander said daycares would have to follow new guidelines, including staggering playground time, eliminating centerwide family events and field trips, and using centralized pick up/drop off locations to reduce exposure.

All adults and children over age 5 are asked to wear masks in childcare centers, Friedlander said.

For more guidelines on childcare and resources for parents, click here.

Ky. to distribute $300M in CARES funds

City and county governments across Kentucky can apply for part of $300 million in CARES Act funding for coronavirus response starting Thursday.

To apply, local governments with COVID-19-related expenses from March 1, 2020 to Dec. 30, 2020 must complete an application with expense documentation. These expenses can include personal protective equipment, food delivery to nursing homes and vulnerable populations, necessary telework and communications improvements, and others.

“Local governments have been instrumental in the fight against COVID-19 and are a lifeline in our local communities,” Beshar said.

Local governments must apply with the expense documentation on DLG’s website. Funding will be allocated to governments based on population size.