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FAQ: Kentucky's new COVID-19 restrictions, starting today

Racial Injustice Breonna Taylor
Posted at 1:55 PM, Nov 20, 2020
and last updated 2020-11-20 13:55:40-05

Gov. Andy Beshear’s new COVID-19 restrictions for Kentucky restaurants, bars, gyms and social gatherings go into effect at 5 p.m. today and remain active until at least Dec. 13. Here’s what you need to know.

What’s changing?

Lots, and almost every aspect of public life will be affected.

All schools will end in-person instruction and pivot to remote learning. Middle and high schools will remain virtual-only until January; elementary schools will be allowed to reopen Dec. 7 if their county is no longer in the red zone on Kentucky's COVID-19 incidence rate map.

Restaurants and bars can no longer sell food or drinks to be consumed indoors. Customers should plan to eat in socially distanced outdoor seating or take their meals to go.

Gyms and other fitness centers must keep their capacity below 34%, and everyone inside must wear a mask while exercising. Group classes, team practices and competitions are suspended.

Event venues and theaters must enforce a capacity limit of 25 people per room.

Office-based businesses must keep their capacity below 34%, and everyone who can work from home should be doing so.

Social gatherings in general — yes, this includes your Thanksgiving — should include no more than eight people total from two different households.

Church services are not included in the order, but Beshear has encouraged houses of worship to delay in-person services until Dec. 13.

Why did Gov. Beshear decide to do this?

The COVID-19 pandemic is worse in the United States than it’s ever been. Kentucky, like the rest of the country, records thousands of new cases every day.

Four months ago, on July 20, the state’s single-day record for new COVID-19 cases was 850.

That record’s been broken more than 10 times in the months since. The most recent record-setting day, Thursday, brought 3,637 new cases to the state.

“Surrender, ignoring this virus, pretending it isn’t real is not an option, because we can and we should take the actions necessary to save thousands of lives,” Beshear said Wednesday.

What should I do for Thanksgiving?

Stay home.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has recommended Americans cancel holiday travel to curb the spread of COVID-19. Celebrating remotely over video call or postponing the celebration until later in the year are both safer alternatives.