FRANKFORT, Ky. — At his Thursday press briefing, Gov. Andy Beshear gave more details on Kentucky's plans to reopen restaurants to in-person dining service on Friday.
Watch a replay of the briefing in the player below:
Restaurants reopen Friday
Restaurants in Kentucky can reopen at 33% dine-in capacity plus outdoor seating starting 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 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.
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 will expire 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.
Beshear said initial reports Wednesday indicated people have followed social distancing and cleaning guidelines in retail stores so far. With two weeks of data, Beshear said he hopes the state will be able to increase the number of people allowed inside a store at one time. Currently, retailers can host customers at 33% capacity. Officials recommended that customers follow social distancing guidelines, wear masks and limit the amount of time they are inside retail stores.
Malls and flea markets also reopened Wednesday at 33% occupancy and adhering to cleaning guidelines. Mall food courts must follow the same requirements set for restaurants.
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. 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 expense documentation on DLG’s website. Funding will be allocated to governments based on population size.
Case numbers and testing
Beshear reported 10 new virus-related deaths Thursday, and there have been 386 virus-related deaths among 8,286 total positive COVID-19 cases statewide. NKY Health reports 1,034 total local cases and 57 virus-related deaths as of Thursday.
More than 3,000 people have recovered from coronavirus, and more than 166,240 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.
Residents of long-term care facilities testing positive for COVID-19 statewide hit 1,061 plus 488 staff, Beshear said Tuesday. So far, 211 residents and two staff members have died since outbreak began, accounting for roughly 60% of the state's total deaths due to COVID-19.
On Wednesday, Public Health Director Dr. Steven Stack announced that the state is administering tests in 23 long-term care facilities. The state is also issuing over 2 million pieces of personal protective equipment to 280 facilities around Kentucky, including 209,900 items of PPE like masks, face shields, gloves and gowns sent to Northern Kentucky.
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.
4 children with COVID-19-related syndrome
Beshear announced that a 5-year-old and an 11-year-old have now contracted a coronavirus-related "pediatric multi-system inflammatory syndrome" on Monday. Beshear said the 5-year-old has since been released from a local hospital, and the 11-year-old remains hospitalized.
State leaders had previously announced that a 10-year-old and a 16-year-old had contracted the new syndrome which first appeared in New York.
Department of Public Health Commissioner Dr. Steven Stack said the 10-year-old in Kentucky had been put on a ventilator in critical condition due to a COVID-19-related inflammatory syndrome that affects young people. Beshear said that the child has been taken off a ventilator as his condition improves. The 16-year-old had been released from the hospital.
Stack said symptoms of this immune system syndrome vary and appear weeks after the child recovers from COVID-19. Possible symptoms include fever, rash, abdominal pain mimicking appendicitis, gastrointestinal problems and respiratory problems.
Stack advises parents call the Kentucky Pediatric Hotline at (800) 722-5725 for questions and more information.