FRANKFORT – Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear on Sunday ordered nonessential retail businesses to close in response to the coronavirus pandemic.
Beshear said the move is effective at 8 p.m. Monday and includes businesses such as entertainment, clothing, bookstores, jewelry stores and car dealerships. He said auto repair and parts shops are exempt.
He said businesses such as grocery stores, pharmacies, drug stores, liquor stores and gas stations will remain open.
“This is the next step that we need to take to reduce the contacts to Kentuckians until we defeat this virus,” the Democratic governor said.
Beshear also said he is mandating that all hospitals cease elective procedures. He said the vast majority already have.
Some other states have ordered residents to shelter in their homes, but Beshear said that has not been discussed.
“Shelter in place evokes emotions in us that (there is) a deadly chemical spill near our house or even an active shooter,” Beshear said. “It says ‘get in your house and board it up until we call you.’ That’s not the way that we will address this coronavirus.”
The governor said Kentuckians will always be able to go outside to exercise or to go to the grocery store. He also said store supplies are being replenished and there was no need to jam grocery carts full.
“We are our own worst enemy in that,” Beshear said. “Remember that your actions have consequences on your neighbor. Make sure that you buy enough for your family, but there’s enough for the next family coming behind you.”
Like other states, Beshear reiterated that his administration is constantly searching for personal protection equipment such as masks, gloves and goggles.
“We are chasing down every lead,” he said. “We are pressuring every person. We are making every phone call. It is a problem. I’m working like heck that we have as much as humanly possible.”
Three people have died in Kentucky from the virus. Health officials said the total number of confirmed cases in the state increased to about 100.
For most people, the virus causes only mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough. For people with existing health problems and older adults, it can cause more severe illness requiring hospitalization.
The vast majority of people recover from the new virus. According to the World Health Organization, people with mild illness recover in about two weeks, while those with more severe illness may take three to six weeks to recover.