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Ky. retailers, houses of worship and more prepare to reopen Wednesday

Beshear: Museums, aquariums, other attractions open in June
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Posted at 4:20 PM, May 19, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-19 18:33:35-04

FRANKFORT, Ky. — After closing their doors to in-person traffic in March, Kentucky's retailers can reopen stores with precautions on Wednesday. In addition, houses of worship can resume in-person services the same day.

Watch a replay of the briefing in the player below:

At his daily press conference Tuesday, Gov. Andy Beshear recommended that customers follow social distancing guidelines, wear masks and limit the amount of time they are inside shops starting Wednesday.

Malls and flea markets can also reopen Wednesday as long as staff at entrances and exits keep occupancy at 33% and adhere to cleaning guidelines. Individual stores must also enforce 33% capacity, Beshear said. Mall food courts must follow the same requirements set for restaurants.

Funeral homes are also permitted to reopen Wednesday, the same day houses of worship can begin holding limited-capacity in-person services.

“This is a big week. There is a lot of additional activity, but we have to make sure that we do it safely,” Beshear said. “I trust in you, and you have done so well thus far that I believe we can do this safely, but it has to be done differently."

Beshear also announced Tuesday that museums, outdoor attractions, libraries, aquariums and distilleries can open on June 8.

TIMELINE: Kentucky, Ohio and Indiana reopening plans

4 children have 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.

Ky. to implement contact tracing

In order to contain the spread of COVID-19, Kentucky health officials will begin contact tracing, which involves health officials reaching out to individuals with whom COVID-19 infected people may have been in contact.

Mark Carter of the Cabinet of Health and Family Services says Kentuckians may be contacted by their local health departments to gather information or to give instructions if they have come in contact with someone who has COVID-19. This may involve instructions to self-quarantine for a set amount of days or to advise people to monitor their symptoms.

Residents of long-term care facilities testing positive for COVID-19 statewide hit 1,116 plus 455 staff, Beshear said Tuesday. So far, 205 residents and two staff members have died since outbreak began, accounting for 60% of the state's total deaths due to COVID-19.

Beshear reported 20 new virus-related deaths, among the highest numbers of single-day deaths since the pandemic first came to the state. That includes two people from Kenton County, two from Boone County and one from Campbell County.

There have been 366 virus-related deaths and 8,069 total positive COVID-19 cases statewide as of Tuesday. NKY Health reports 967 total local cases and 57 virus-related deaths as of Tuesday.

More than 2,800 people have recovered from coronavirus, and more than 153,800 people have been tested.

A free drive-thru COVID-19 testing site is now open in Erlanger at 25 Atlantic Ave. You can call 1-800-737-7900 to schedule an appointment. For a complete list of coronavirus testing sites in Kentucky, click here.

What else opens this week in Kentucky?

Kentucky reopened government offices and agencies on Monday.

Kentuckians can gather in groups of 10 people or fewer starting Friday, May 22. Beshear and Stack advised Tuesday that people hold these gatherings outdoors and with six-foot social distancing precautions.

Stack also recommended people wear masks, avoid sharing food and drinks and wash hands regularly.

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

Restaurants can reopen at 33% capacity with outdoor seating starting Friday.

Beshear said bars will likely 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.