LEXINGTON, Ky. — Masks have become the most vital summer accessory. Governor Andy Beshear made it mandatory for people to wear a facial covering last week when he enacted an executive order.

So far, the Lexington-Fayette County Health Department has seen high rates of compliance.

“The response from the businesses has been positive, they are appreciated of the fact there’s a mandate in place and that most people are following this,” said Kevin Hall, a spokesperson with the department. 

Hall said that as of Thursday afternoon, Lexington-Fayette County Health Department is approaching around 70 complaints that have come in. But, he noted the distinction between a complaint versus a citation or fine.

“We try to be educational right now because this isn’t even a week old,” said Hall. “Some people aren’t fully accustomed to it, but if we continue to get complaints about a place and they are not taking the good faith efforts to make things better then we issue a citation.”

The business or establishment has 10 days after the citation issue to fix the problem. If they don’t follow this, it can be elevated to some sort of fine or penalty. The health department is working with the state on the proper way to assess those potential punishments. Hall cites the recent number of cases in the Lexington area as a reason for everyone to take safeguards against coronavirus seriously.

“The outbreak in Lexington began on March 8,” said Hall. “We’ve seen a third of the total cases the last 15 days. It is spreading and it is spreading fast.”

Hall encourages the public to wear a mask. He also hopes people report noncompliance on their online portal. But, he also wants people to seek out managers and give them positive reinforcement if they are adhering to the executive order.