COVINGTON, Ky. — Add another court decision to the pile of conflicting opinions about whether Gov. Andy Beshear can implement COVID-19 restrictions.

This time, a federal judge ruled in favor of a group of parents who challenged the new school mask mandate in Northern Kentucky.

What You Need To Know

  • A federal judge granted a temporary restraining order to halt Gov. Andy Beshear’s school mask mandate

  • A statement from the governor’s office clarified that it only applies to the Diocese of Covington

  • Public schools in Kentucky are still covered under a separate, similar mask order by the Kentucky Board of Education

  • The Kentucky Supreme Court is still deliberating over a case involving laws passed earlier this year to limit the governor’s emergency powers

“I am afraid that these kinds of decisions are only going to confuse Kentuckians further than we already are in this very confusing time,” said House Democratic Leader Joni Jenkins (D-Shively).

Jenkins was disappointed in the decision, which grants a temporary restraining order against the school mask mandate.  

According to a statement from the governor's office, both parties have agreed that the order should apply only to schools within the Diocese of Covington.

It does not affect separate emergency mask regulations approved by the Kentucky Board of Education for all public schools.  

“I think it is small sacrifice to make to make sure that we are keeping Kentuckians healthy,” Jenkins said.

Crystal Staley, a spokeswoman for Governor Andy Beshear, responded to the ruling in a statement.

“The federal court’s ruling could place thousands of Kentucky children at risk and undoubtedly expose them to the most dangerous version of COVID-19 we have ever seen,” she said.

Staley also notes that COVID-19 cases in Kentucky children have increased 400% in the last month

Republicans, however, praised the ruling.

In a tweet, state Sen. Damon Thayer (R-Georgetown) quoted the judge, who said the Executive Branch cannot ignore laws passed by the legislature, adding that it’s what Republicans have been saying all along.

Agriculture Commissioner Ryan Quarles said it’s now up to the Kentucky Supreme Court to decide whether to “uphold the rule of law and the separation of powers.”

Jenkins said politics shouldn’t be a part of this.

“I don’t see it as an infringement on my liberty to wear a piece of cloth around my face when I’m around other people,” she said.

There’s no indication when the Kentucky Supreme Court will make a decision on the laws passed earlier this year to limit the governor’s emergency powers. Initial arguments were heard back in April.

U.S. District Judge William Bertelsman, the author of Tuesday’s ruling in U.S. District Court, set a hearing on Aug. 24 to determine what the next steps are.