LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Governor Andy Beshear announced because of the growing concern with rising coronavirus cases in Kentucky, there will be a series of steps taken in the next two weeks.

What You Need To Know

  • Bars will close and restaurants will reduce inside capacity to 25%

  • Mandate goes into effect Tuesday, July 27 5 p.m. for two weeks

  • Public and private schools will not begin in-person instruction

  • Governor hopes to expand capacity in two weeks

First, all bars will close effective at 5 p.m. Tuesday, July 28. Restaurants will be allowed to stay open but in-house dining capacity will be capped at 25 percent. Restaurants offering outdoor dining will be allowed to have that open for 100 percent capacity. The new rule will be in effect for two weeks.  

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

Stacy Roof is president of the Kentucky Restaurant Association.

“I think it puts a lot of our restaurants that were in danger of not making it that much closer to not making it,” Roof said.

She said she hasn’t seen data linking the rise in cases to restaurants, which had been operating at 50 percent indoor capacity since June 22.  

“Most restaurants don’t have dozens of people in them at any point in time,” Roof said.

Bars serving food will need to act as if they are restaurants Beshear said. The administration is implementing a "seat rule" meaning everyone coming into a bar that serves food must remain in their seat unless going to the restroom.

Beshear said Kentucky is in an escalation period and the state's positivity rate continues to climb. Dr. Deborah Birx, the coordinator of the White House coronavirus task force, was in Kentucky meeting with Beshear on Sunday. She along with the rest of the Trump administration strongly encouraged Beshear to take the closure steps. Beshear said in addition to closing and reduction in restaurant capacity, the White House encouraged mandatory mask mandates, which are already in place for Kentucky. Along with the mask mandate, Beshear has limited gatherings of people to 10 or less.  

Beshear also announced Monday that Kentucky schools, both public and private, would not begin in-person instruction until at least the third week of August. The state's two largest school districts, Jefferson County Public Schools (JCPS) and Fayette County Schools announced they would begin classes online. JCPS on August 25 and Fayette County has yet to say when it is starting. 

Monday Beshear announced an additional 522 cases of coronavirus bringing the state's total to 27,601 total cases. Nine new deaths were reported bringing the total number of deaths to 709. Kentucky's positivity rate also increased and is now at 5.58%. Currently, there are 609 people hospitalized with the virus with 131 in intensive care units.  

Beshear says he hopes to again increase restaurant capacity limits to 50 percent in two weeks, but says the only way it can happen is if everyone takes the needed precautions now.