Beshear says ban on mass gatherings does not distinguish churches
Gov. Andy Beshear has said his ban on mass gatherings does not target places of worship.
“I’m not trying to make tough rules and I’m not trying to make controversial rules, I’m just trying to save lives,” Beshear said in Tuesday’s briefing.
Earlier Tuesday, Attorney General Daniel Cameron threatened to sue Beshear if it does not allow religious organizations to organize in-person services during the pandemic. The ban went into effect on March 19.
The governor on Tuesday announced 230 new cases of the coronavirus, for a total of 4,375, saying he still believed Kentucky was on the “plateau” for the pandemic. Beshear also announced 14 new deaths, for a total of 225. He said there was another probable death linked to COVID-19.
Beshear said it would be mandatory for people to wear sheet masks in the workplace to help thwart the spread of the coronavirus as some businesses begin to reopen in the coming weeks.
He also strongly recommended that people wear masks when going out in public, although he said individuals would not be penalized for not doing so.
“No one will be punished, individually, for not wearing one,” Beshear said. “But isn’t it your duty?”
Beshear announced on Monday that some non-healthcare businesses could reopen from May 11, though they are required to follow rules for social distancing, personal protective equipment and sanitation.
In its daily update on Tuesday, Beshear unveiled 10 requirements for employers about to reopen, including that they continue to telecommute when possible, perform on-site temperature checks, require everyone to wear masks, close common areas and enforce social distancing requirements.
State officials have encouraged people to use cloth masks or bandanas, but not to wear N95 masks – the industry standard for workers in the healthcare sector – saying they should be reserved for first responders.
Beshear apologized for wrongly saying that an unemployment claim filed by a Kentuckian named Tupac Shakur was fraudulent.
Beshear said on Monday that there were ‘bad apples’ who had applied for unemployment benefits during the coronavirus pandemic using fake names, highlighting a claim filed by Tupac Shakur – the same name as the famous rapper who was assassinated in 1996.
The Lexington Herald-Leader reported On Tuesday a man named Tupac Malik Shakur, who goes by the name of Malik, is actually very real and worked as a cook at local restaurants in Lexington until they closed due to the pandemic.
Beshear apologized to Shakur by phone on Tuesday.
“I owned it. It’s my fault. He was courteous, ”Beshear said.
Kentucky has seen a record number of jobless claims since restrictions were imposed to slow the spread of the coronavirus.
Beshear said the state was working to clear a backlog of claims and there were still 37,000 people who filed in March and are waiting to receive benefits.