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J. Tyler Franklin

The Senate is preparing to vote this week on a trimmed-down Republican coronavirus relief package, though it only has a slim chance of passage in the face of Democrats’ insistence for more sweeping aid.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky released the approximately $500 billion measure on Tuesday as senators returned to Washington for an abbreviated pre-election session.

McConnell called the package “a targeted proposal that focuses on several of the most urgent aspects of this crisis." 

“The people who have really been hammered in this pandemic are people who work in the hospitality field for hotels and restaurants," McConnell said during a stop in Bowling Green recently. "Those folks, in the proposal I put together for another round, would get another check for $1,200, to try to lift them.”

Office of Gov. Andy Beshear

Gov. Andy Beshear has ordered Kentucky bars to close and restaurants to go to 25% capacity for two weeks starting Tuesday, Jul. 28 at 5 p.m. to try to curve a rise in cases of COVID-19.

“This is going to hurt a lot of restaurants,” Beshear said Monday. “But the White House’s modeling shows that this is absolutely necessary to control the spread at this time.”

The restrictions do not affect outdoor seating for restaurants.

During his briefing Monday, Beshear said some bar and restaurant-goers have failed to follow guidelines around masks and social distancing. He showed photos of people gathered closely together at Kentucky bars without wearing masks.

Ryland Barton

Gov. Andy Beshear says he will announce further steps on Monday to try to slow the spread of coronavirus in Kentucky. Beshear made the statement shortly after a meeting in which a White House coronavirus adviser recommended that the state close bars and reduce restaurant capacity.

In recent days, Beshear has repeatedly warned that he would take action to close bars and reduce crowds at restaurants if the number of COVID-19 in the state continued to rise.

“I will not let us become an Alabama, a Florida or an Arizona. We’ve got to take proactive steps and that’s what we’re trying to do,” Beshear said on Sunday during a press conference.

Kentucky has reported its highest daily numbers of coronavirus cases over the last week—the highest came last Sunday when there were nearly 1,000 new cases and the second highest came on Saturday.

J. Tyler Franklin

Gov. Andy Beshear said Thursday the state will consider closing bars, limiting restaurant capacities and starting schools later if Kentucky can’t get its daily caseload of COVID-19 under control.

Beshear began Thursday’s briefing noting that Kentucky has seen some of the highest daily case numbers since the beginning of the pandemic in March. He announced 611 new cases of COVID-19 and seven deaths.

Kentucky has seen record highs in all but one day this week beginning Sunday when state officials announced 979 cases. The state has not yet begun to see the benefits of the governor’s mask mandate, which went into effect 13 days ago.

Updated at 11:34 a.m. ET

New claims for unemployment benefits rose last week for the first time in four months — since March 28 — as states began reimposing lockdown restrictions in an effort to reverse a surge of coronavirus cases.

More than 1.4 million new claims were filed during the week ending July 18, an increase of more than 100,000 over the week before, the Labor Department reported Thursday.

Tom Morris

The COVID-19 pandemic has caused widespread anxiety about what used to be common daily activities, like going to the grocery store and getting a haircut.

Now, Bowling Green area residents are using social media to share information about businesses that are using safety precautions, and others that are not following guidelines for masks or social distancing.

The public Facebook group is called 'Safe Places to Patronize in Bowling Green, KY.'

Retired engineer Tom Morris, who created the group,  said it’s grown to more than 2,500 members in two months.

“Actually, it kind of started on a whim," said Morris. "Somebody had posted something about, you know, it would be nice to know where we can go that’s safe. And I said, ‘Well somebody ought to start a Facebook group about safe places to patronize, you know.’ And I said, ‘Well, heck, I’ll start it'."


Kentucky’s official unemployment rate is trending downward since swelling to more than 15 percent at the height of the coronavirus outbreak. 

June’s jobless rate was 4.3 percent, mirroring the rate recorded for the state one year ago.

Kentucky's current unemployment rate is also much lower than the national average of 11.1 percent. The number of Kentuckians employed in June increased by 28,536 while the number of unemployed decreased by 137,600.

Updated at 5 p.m. ET

Walmart says shoppers must wear masks inside its stores starting Monday — the largest retailer to join a growing list of companies making face covering mandatory across the nation.

Wikimedia Commons

More than 48,000 Kentucky businesses, schools and other organizations received loans from the federal Paycheck Protection Program as of the end of last month, but most of the $5.2 billion awarded in the state went to a small percentage of those businesses.

The loans are intended to help employers weather the coronavirus pandemic and don’t have to be paid back if businesses retain jobs and most of the money is used for payroll.

The U.S. Small Business Administration released data on Monday showing which businesses received the loans by the end of June.

Ryan Van Velzer

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.

National Corvette Museum

Museums, libraries, distilleries, aquariums, and outdoor attractions opened their doors on Monday for the first time in nearly three months. 

The venues are resuming operations under Kentucky’s phased-in reopening of the economy stemming from the coronavirus. 

New and renovated exhibit spaces await visitors at the National Corvette Museum in Bowling Green. President and CEO Sean Preston says the visitor experience won’t be that different compared to before the pandemic began.


Kentucky Bourbon Trail

The Kentucky Distillers’ Association is awaiting approval of its 30-page proposal submitted to Gov. Andy Beshear in advance of the June 8 reopening date for distilleries.

Distilleries are expected to welcome visitors with lots of COVID-19 safety precautions in place, as required by the state’s Healthy at Work guidelines.

The proposal submitted by the Kentucky Distillers’ Association has recommendations for the 18 distilleries on the Kentucky Bourbon Trail and 20 on the Kentucky Bourbon Trail Craft Tour.


tourgreenville.com

The leader of a Muhlenberg County town said the economic damage inflicted by the COVID-19 pandemic will force city and county governments to make “impossible” budget choices.

Greenville Mayor Jan Yonts joined her Louisville counterpart, Greg Fischer, Thursday on a conference call with reporters, asking the U.S. Senate to pass a relief bill with economic aid for state and local governments.

Yonts said her county government is now operating on a $2.3 million dollar budget shortfall due to the economic damage caused by the coronavirus. She said a recent string of local drug overdose deaths, burglaries, and fatal fires show the need to maintain essential services.

Josh Parker

Businesses across Kentucky are reopening with safety guidelines to prevent the spread of COVID-19.  

A music store in Somerset is one of the thousands of businesses across the Bluegrass State adapting to the new reality.

Josh Parker enjoys demonstrating one of the most popular guitars at the shop he owns in Somerset, Earl Brooke’s Piano and Music Center.  

“It's a Yamaha Transacoustic, just due to the fact that it’s an acoustic guitar, and it’s actually acoustic electric, so you can play acoustic or you can plug it into an amp," said Parker, who has owned the music store for about a year.


The United States is still losing jobs at an alarming pace two months after the coronavirus pandemic took hold.

Another 2.4 million people filed claims for unemployment last week, the Labor Department reported Thursday. That's down 249,000 — or 9% — from the previous week, but still painfully high by historical standards.

In the past nine weeks, jobless claims have totaled 38.6 million. That's roughly one out of every four people who were working in February, before the pandemic hit.

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