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Aquariums, Libraries, Distilleries Receive Opening Dates; State Sees 20 New Deaths

With Memorial Day weekend approaching, Governor Andy Beshear on Tuesday rolled out additional guidelines for public recreation amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

“Just because we are healthy at home and healthy at work doesn’t mean we can’t be out there to be healthy physically,” Beshear said. “The healthier we get, the more resilient we will be if we ever see anything else like this in our lifetime.”

Beshear asked that any gatherings be kept to ten people or fewer.

“Our actions have direct implications on the health and safety of others,” said Department for Public Health Commissioner Dr. Steven Stack. “This weekend is the first time in Kentucky that we are going to permit over the last two months or so gatherings of up to 10 people. In order to do this safely and minimize the risk of infection being spread and to keep people safe, we have to do this right.”

Other guidance includes maintaining social distance of at least six feet, wearing masks, gathering outside instead of inside, washing hands frequently and covering food and individually wrapping plates.

“It’s Memorial Day Weekend, and I know that many of us desperately crave the company of our friends and family,” Dr. Stack said. “But I urge and I ask that everybody please follow these steps so that we can stay safe together and not have any of the serious consequences that none of us want.”

Gov. Beshear spoke about the next steps and latest guidance for businesses as Kentucky makes a gradual and sustainable reopening of the economy. The retail sector is slated to reopen on Wednesday.

“This is a big week. There is a lot of additional activity, but we have to make sure that we do it safely,” Beshear said. “I trust in you, and you have done so well thus far that I believe we can do this safely, but it has to be done differently. Let’s make sure that again Kentucky can do this just as well as anyone else.”

On Tuesday, the Governor said June 8 marks the projected return for museums, outdoor attractions, aquariums, libraries, and distilleries. Further out, June 11 will bring back the Kentucky Horse Park, Kentucky State Park campgrounds, and Otter Creek; and on June 15 some child care and limited-contact youth sports will be allowed.

The governor announced 164 newly confirmed COVID-19 cases bringing the state's total to 8,069 since the pandemic began. Twenty additional deaths were reported. 366 have died in Kentucky from causes related to the virus.

“Today we have lost more people to the coronavirus than any other day before,” Beshear said. “While I believe that we can reopen safely and do it gradually, let’s remember that this thing is still deadly and it is still taking people we love and care about.

“Twenty Kentuckians lost today, a tough day. Let’s make sure just like every day that we are lighting our homes up green and that we ring our bells tomorrow at 10 a.m. and we don’t get tired any night or any day from doing the right thing to honor these families.”

Two more deaths were reported in Northern Kentucky on Tuesday. Fifteen additional positive cases were also confirmed, bringing the four-county region's total to 967 since the pandemic began.

At least 2,826 Kentuckians have recovered from the virus. 

“There are two types of testing currently available in the Northern Kentucky region," said Dr. Lynne Saddler, Northern Kentucky district director of health. "The viral test, otherwise known as a PCR test, determines if someone is currently infected with COVID-19. The antibody test determines if someone was previously exposed to COVID-19. If you believe you need a test for COVID-19, please contact your health care provider, who can provide guidance and further instructions.”

-Staff report

Photo: Newport Aquarium (provided)

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