Kentucky restaurants will be able to open at one-third capacity starting May 22 as part of a new schedule of business reopenings announced by Gov. Andy Beshear.
Movie theaters and gyms will be able to open on June 1, campgrounds on June 11, childcare and outdoor youth sports on June 15 and bars and groups of 50 on July 1.
Beshear said businesses will have to meet social distancing, sanitary and personal protective equipment requirements in order to open.
He also said people need to be ready to stop the roll out if there’s an uptick in cases.
“Any peak we see, any cause of major concern, we are all going to have to be willing to pause,” Beshear said.
Kentucky hasn’t seen a 14-day decline in cases and doesn’t yet have the high rate of testing officials say should happen before reopening. But Beshear says he’s moving forward because citizens and businesses are ready to follow safety requirements, and the state is in the process of ramping up testing.
“This is the best compromise between public health and making sure we can restart,” Beshear said.
As WFPL reported earlier this week, Kentucky needs to significantly increase the number of people it tests each week if it wants to accurately track the spread of the virus.
Beshear argues that Kentucky’s ratio of positive coronavirus cases to total cases is artificially high, saying that some testing firms haven’t been reporting negative test results when they report to the state.
“I know it’s higher than this, because we’re tracking different tests that are administered each day and they’re much higher than that number,” Beshear said.
The state is trying to ramp up its testing as the first round of non-essential businesses reopen on Monday.
Beshear announced that the state is partnering with First Care Clinics, which has 13 urgent care centers across the state, to conduct 10,000 drive thru tests per week. Beshear said that would bring the state’s weekly testing capacity to 40,000.
Unlike earlier in the pandemic when he told people who aren’t sick not to get tests, Beshear says that the state’s capacity is large enough that everyone should get tested for the virus.
“If you’re feeling just a little bit sick, get a test. You’re wondering if it might be allergies? Get a test. You’re just worried about your family because you’re going back to work and you know you have more contacts with people? Get a test,” Beshear said.
There were 208 new cases of coronavirus in Kentucky on Thursday, for a total of 6,129. There were 11 new deaths, for a total of 294.