Governor to order bar, restaurant closure by 5 p.m. Monday; jobless steps coming

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FRANKFORT, Ky. (WTVQ) – A 66-year-old Bourbon County man who had the coronavirus and other health care issues has become the first Kentuckian whose death has been attributed to the disease, Gov. Andy Beshear announced Monday morning.

The governor also said later today he will order all bars and restaurants to close to in-person traffic. Exceptions will be for drive-throughs.

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“We will do everything we can to help with the financial impact. We will do everything we can to minimize the impact,” he said, acknowledging that many are small businesses.

“My goal is for it to take effect at about 5 p.m. today. It is going to have a major impact on workers, a major impact on a lot of people out there. We will get through this, we will rebuild what has to be rebuilt,” he said.

The order will have exceptions for delivery, drive-through and take out.

“These are important businesses, they employ people throughout our communities,” he said.

He also will waive work-search requirements and waiting periods for unemployment benefits.

“We realize the impact,” he said flatly.

He also will close the state Capitol to non-essential personnel, starting Tuesday. The Legislature is developing plans to continue to be able to meet and at least get a state budget done.

The session normally would end by April 15.

“If we have to come back at a later date, we can,” he said.

Jim Gray and Edith Halbleib, two state cabinet level-positions, are in isolation after potential exposure to the disease.

He reminded the public the changes being imposed could last weeks, if not months.

“But it is necessary,” he stressed.

He also said he could not say when drive-through testing would be available or widespread free testing, but he added, “We will be ready when it is available.”

Overall, the state has 21 cases of the COVID-19 virus as of Monday morning’s test results.

During his morning briefing, Beshear encouraged the state’s residents to continue to take positive steps to follow proper social distancing. He also encouraged residents to fill social media with positive news to offset negative items filling social media sites.

As part of that, he encouraged residents to use two hashtags — #TeamKentucky and #TogetherKy — to spread positive news.

“We have a duty to do everything we can. There is a lot of anxiety out there, a lot of it is spread through social media. Fill social media with good stuff, like ordering take out to support small businesses, those kinds of things,” the governor said, encouraging “living up to our patriotic duty.”

The governor also said 14 of the 16 Kentuckians on the Grand Princess cruise ship are in their homes now and the remaining two will be home Monday.

The state also is going to automatically extend driver’s licenses for 90 days if they expire so people won’t have to come in to renew licenses, Beshear said.

Reiterating steps taken during the weekend, the governor said day care centers should expect to get a state order to close later this week. Hospitals also should cease all elective surgery by Wednesday.

The following is a list of the state’s coronavirus cases by age, sex and county of residence:

  • 66 M Bourbon, passed away Sunday, March 15
  • 40 F Fayette
  • 46 M Fayette
  • 31 F Fayette
  • 47 M Fayette
  • 31 M Fayette
  • 27 F Harrison, out of the hospital and fully recovered
  • 67 F Harrison
  • 68 M Harrison
  • 54 F Harrison
  • 60 M Harrison
  • 51 M Harrison
  • 69 M Jefferson
  • 67 F Jefferson
  • 68 F Jefferson
  • 80 F Jefferson
  • 73 F Jefferson
  • 56 M Montgomery
  • 53 M Nelson
  • 49 M Clark
  • 54 M Jefferson