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Beshear: Businesses Can Increase Capacity 1 Month After Reopening

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Ryan Van Velzer
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Gov. Andy Beshear said businesses that have opened up under reduced capacity during the coronavirus pandemic will be able to have more customers by the end of the month.

Restaurants, retail stores and barber shops have been allowed to operate at 33% of their occupational capacity since last month, but that number will go up to 50% starting one month after they reopened.

Beshear said business owners and customers have gotten used to shopping and eating while following social distancing and sanitary rules.

“That means we have gotten the practices in,” Beshear said during his media briefing Tuesday. “They are becoming a part of what we are doing and that will be the next phase we will be able to move towards.”

The development means that retail will be allowed to expand its capacity on June 20, restaurants on June 22 and barber shops and salons on June 25.

Several activities and businesses still haven’t been allowed to reopen during the pandemic. Some childcare centers will be allowed to reopen on June 15, bars will be allowed to reopen and groups of 50 or fewer will be allowed to gather on June 29.

Beshear announced on Tuesday that the state fair will take place this year, but with several social distancing restrictions. It’s scheduled to take place from August 20-30 in Louisville.

Beshear said part of the fairgrounds set up as a field hospital — which hasn’t been used during the pandemic — will remain in place.

“We are nowhere close to needing it yet. But if we took it down and later needed it, that’s something none of us want to have to live with,” he said.

Beshear announced 245 new cases of coronavirus on Tuesday, bringing the state’s total to 11,708. There were also five more deaths, for a total of 477.

Beshear said Kentucky has a “handle” on the virus as the state has continued to open up businesses and ramp up testing across the state.

Ryland is the state capitol reporter for the Kentucky Public Radio Network, a group of public radio stations including WKU Public Radio. A native of Lexington, Ryland has covered politics and state government for NPR member stations KWBU in Waco and KUT in Austin.
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