FRANKFORT, Ky. (KT) – Kentucky saw its positive coronavirus cases climb over 100 and Gov. Andy Beshear said nonessential businesses would have to shutter Monday night.
Beshear said the number of positive cases has reached 103, 16 more than Saturday’s total of 87.
“We expected this, this is the way this virus works,” he said Sunday afternoon during his regular press conference.
Beshear expounded on the closing of the nonessential businesses saying they needed to close to in-person traffic by 8 p.m. Monday. “This is the next step we need to take to reduce the contacts among Kentuckians until we can defeat this virus,” he said.
Businesses affected by the order are entertainment, sporting goods, clothing, shoes, jewelry, bookstores, florists, furniture and auto dealers.
“While people can’t come into the stores to get something, they can still order on the phone or online, and there can be curbside service or delivery,” he said.
Beshear said the restrictions do not include grocery stores, pharmacies and drug stores, gas stations, auto repair, parts businesses, and liquor stores.
While Beshear said they previously recommended that medical facilities cease elective or non-essential procedures, starting Monday it becomes mandatory.
“The vast majority of providers have done it voluntarily,” he said. “But whether it’s a group of chiropractors that have been exceedingly difficult, or others who think they should be the exception, it is now requiring us to turn it into a mandate.
“Folks, we are going to continue to have to take these types of steps. But understand, no matter what steps that we have to take, you’re still going to be able to get the essentials you need. You’re still going to be able to go out for a walk and get exercise, you’re still going to able to live your life in a way where we can and we will get through it. We just have to continue our contacts.”
He urged caution when handling gas pumps. “This virus can live on just about any surface for a while, so use your hand sanitizer, bring it in your car, or wash your hands after using a gas pump.”
Beshear was asked about U.S. Senator Rand Paul, R-Ky., who announced Sunday he has tested positive for the coronavirus, becoming the first Senator to do so.
“I wish him the best and his family the best. With him having to self-isolate, hopefully they are staying in communication, and we hope that he and everybody else gets through this in the best place possible. Right now, there are no Democrats, there are no Republicans. It’s just America versus the coronavirus.”
Beshear was asked if he had seen the meme page on Facebook, “Andy Beshear Memes for Social Distancing Teens,” which has more than 41,000 follows and some good-natured and creative memes of the governor.
“If it makes people smile right now, I’m for it.,” he said. “I’m just glad that we can come together everyday at 5 p.m., to make that we stay calm, because we’re facing something that none of us have ever seen and that you get information directly from me. If a meme helps to get a laugh at a time when we need more laughs, go for it.”
Beshear said when the coronavirus crisis ends he hoped to be able to look back positively on how it was handled.
“I hope one day we can look back on this and say we were really aggressive,” he said. “In fact, I hope one day maybe they’ll look back and say we were more aggressive than we had to be. That’s because we care. That’s because I want to make sure we take every step to protect those around us. And as we see more positive cases around us, and we will, that you have the confidence that we are taking the steps to protect the people we love. We’re going to get there, and we’re going to get there by being the really good people that we are.
“I look forward to that day where we can all be back within six feet of each other.”
For the latest information on the state’s restrictions and guidance, including information from the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, go to the website, http://kycovid19.ky.gov/. or call the hotline at (800) 722-5725.