Beshear mandates face masks for Kentuckians in public


UPDATED: Mandate starts Friday, July 10 at 5 p.m.

  • Face masks required in Kentucky at 5 p.m. Friday
    Face masks required in Kentucky at 5 p.m. Friday
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Governor Andy Beshear

Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear announced at the end of his press conference on Thursday, July 9 that he is signing an executive order to mandate face masks to be worn in public places as of 5 p.m. The mandate is for 30 days and he will evaluate the executive order at that time.

"We have a deadly and dangerous virus," Beshear said before announcing the executive order.

It means means all customers in retail facilities, grocery stores, anywhere indoors where people cannot stay six feet apart from each other must wear a mask.

While waiting at a restaurant for a table, you must have a mask on. While waiting for your food to be served, you must have a mask on unless you are able to social distancing six feet away.

"We're starting this early enough to where we have a real shot. Those that are out there that are nervous, they should be. But until they start seeing everyone wearing masks, following the rules and doing what it takes," said Gov. Beshear.

Falmouth Chief of Police Shannon Clem said in a text Thursday night to Falmouth Outlook, "We will not be enforcing this. Apparently, he is having the local health departments throughout the state to enforce this mandate."

The actions stand in defiance to a Scott County judge's temporary restraining order to stop Beshear against the enforcement of the Governor’s executive orders.. It was based on a lawsuit brought by the Kentucky Department of Agriculture and Evans Orchard.

Beshear noted the lawsuit in his press conference and that they had already appealed the decision. He added that it won't stop him from doing what's right.

The action makes Kentucky the 23 state to require a mask. Cincinnati passed a similar ordinance last Friday requiring masks.

"It's no longer voluntary. It's now mandatory and I don't care what kind of backlash I take," Beshear said.

"If we do this, if we really do it, not just when we think people are watching, I believe we can keep restaurants open at 50 percent, I believe we can keep retail open, I believe we can keep the things open we have opened up and if we do it, I think we got a shot at sports that other states are worried about. But it's on us," he said.

He mentioned a Goldman Sachs study that should the positive financial impact that mask wearing can have on an economy. By extrapolating their data, Beshear claimed it would mean $10.4 billion to the Kentucky economy.

As of Thursday, Kentucky has 18,245 positive cases statewide, 333 of which were new on Thursday, and 612 deaths.

Beshear shared that latest data indicates that wearing a mask decreases the risk of the wearer from the virus by 65 percent.

This story is ongoing and updates will follow. Most local government and law enforcement agencies are waiting on more information from the Governor's office before making a comment on the enforcement locally of the face mask order.