Citing a steady uptick in statewide COVID-19 cases this week, Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear announced Thursday an executive order requiring all Kentuckians to wear personal protective masks in public places until further notice. The order, which Beshear said will take effect at 5 p.m. Friday, comes as the Commonwealth reported 333 new cases Thursday with four new deaths of Kentuckians aged 61-94.
The executive order will initially last for 30 days, and “we’ll see how well we do after that,” Beshear said. “This includes groceries, all retail businesses, forward-facing businesses. If you are inside at a public place and are not able to be six feet apart, you will be required to wear a mask. If you are outside in public and are not able to be six feet apart, you will be required to wear a mask.”
Beshear added that health departments and others will be enforcing the order, and that businesses should deny people service if a patron is not wearing a mask. When asked the consequences for Kentuckians not following the executive order, Beshear said it will start with a warning and that chronic refusal could lead to a fine.
“The business community is supportive of wearing masks as a way to keep the economy going and keep our workforce and fellow Kentuckians safe,” said Kentucky Chamber President and CEO Ashli Watts in response to the announcement. “We will be reviewing Governor Beshear’s executive order and providing feedback and comments to the administration.”
In other announcements, Beshear also reported an update from the state’s Consensus Forecasting Group, which had initially projected a total shortfall to the Kentucky road fund of approximately $161.8 million. The actual reported shortfall was $59.9 million, about $100 million less than expected, according to Beshear.
Beshear also announced an additional $36.2 million in CARES Act funding for local health departments across the state.