PULASKI COUNTY, Ky. (WTVQ) — The county already has had to close its popular camping park because of crowds and now Judge Executive Steve Kelley worries he may have to impose limits on shopping and curfews if the community doesn’t do more to practice social distancing and other health steps to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus.
Those words come as Kelley announced the county of 65,000 people now has 28 confirmed coronavirus cases following a mini-surge that began last week.
That sure is linked to a business, Kelley said, noting “we think we have it contained and under control.”
He did not name the business during his update, which he does regularly on Facebook live every other day.Kelley ordered camping closed at Pulaski County Park, effective today, with the park only open for walking and fishing from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. The road into the park will be locked and blocked each night at 7 p.m., according to the park’s web page and Kelley’s comments.
The county took the step to prevent groups from gathering, especially among campers, and because vandalism at the park had increased with social distancing.
Of the 28 cases, five people have recovered, two people are hospitalized and 20 are self-quarantined.
But the judge executive said even tougher steps could be in store.
“If we continue to see some of the things we’ve been seeing, we are going to have to take tougher steps. We can’t have families going to the grocery store,” he stated, referring to large crowds at some businesses.
“I don’t want to have to tell you how to shop,” he added, referring to counties that have imposed one-per-per-family limits and ordered stores to limit the number of customers.
“We are just asking for trouble,” he continued, noting “you wouldn’t take your children into a street filled with gunfire” so why take them to areas where they potentially could catch the coronavirus.
Similarly, referring to a handful of counties that have imposed curfews on people under 18, he said he’s not beyond doing that if families “don’t keep their children at home.”
“It’s something we’re discussing,” Kelley stated.
Meanwhile, Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Bobby Clue said the business group is trying to help businesses battle through the pandemic and offering tools that may helk them come out stronger when it’s over.
“This has been difficult for those businesses deemed non-essential,” said Clue, who has headed the organization, which has more than 150 business members, for nine years. “These are very challenging times.”
Clue urged residents to continue to support local businesses, including ones that are open and others that might be selling online only or through carry out and delivery. He said the Chamber has been trying to help businesses develop those services to be able to reach out to the community, both now and once the coronavirus is beaten.
The group also is trying to provide a link between people who are temporarily laid off and companies that need workers.
And this week, the Chamber is offering a series of business support and instruction videos to help business owners and manager improve their E-commerce, learn how to start a Youtube channel, an take other steps to strengthen their operation.
He also plugged the Chamber’s innovative Young Entrepreneurs Academy, a 20-week program that teaches middle and high school students how to start and run their own business and even provides starter funding in some cases.