Gov. Beshear issues travel advisory, social gathering mandate

Posted at 5:16 PM, Jul 20, 2020

FRANKFORT, Ky. (LEX 18) — During his Monday press conference, Gov. Andy Beshear issued a travel advisory for Kentuckians who plan to travel out of state and a mandate reducing the amount of people allowed at social gatherings.

The travel advisory recommends that any Kentuckians that travel to any of the eight states reporting positive testing rates equal or greater than 15 percent to quarantine for 14 days.

Gov. Beshear noted that some of the clusters of COVID-19 cases in Kentucky stem from families traveling to beaches in South Carolina or Florida, both states which are reporting positive testing rates higher than 15 percent. The other six states are Alabama, Georgia, South Carolina, Arizona, Idaho and Texas.

"I've been up here, admittedly, begging and pleading for people not to go (to beaches) when we know how much has been brought back," Gov. Beshear said. "Sadly a person will go to a beach, a place where one in five people are testing positive, and they'll come back and they'll go to work, then they'll go to church and do a number of other things and it spreads throughout those areas too and can shut down the work and can really impact the church. It is something we have to take stronger steps towards."

Gov. Beshear described the virus in those states as "uncontrolled." In Arizona, nearly one in four individuals are testing positive for COVID-19.

Social gatherings are now limited to 10 people or fewer. This does not apply to churches, weddings, restaurants, retail or other public venues. Unlike the travel advisory, the reduction of people allowed at a social gathering is a mandate.

"We are seeing clusters (of COVID-19 cases) created by our backyards, barbeques, by our block parties, and it is because we let our guard down," Gov. Beshear said. "We have a lot of friends over, we know them, we figure they're probably doing everything right. We take off our masks, we relax, we get too close, we stand around while people are grilling and we're seeing some very difficult outcomes because of it."

The mandate does not affect any businesses.

"We don't want to become Arizona or Florida. Florida is 11,000-16,000 cases a day, and we had almost a 1,000 just yesterday. So this is us just trying to stop this thing before it gets out of control. So much depends on it," Gov. Beshear said of the mandate.

The advisory and mandate come the same day that 258 new cases were reported and one day after 979 cases, the single day highest in Kentucky, were reported.