Lexington's 'gathering size' report card earns high marks

Posted at 7:36 AM, Sep 10, 2020
and last updated 2020-09-10 07:43:24-04

LEXINGTON, Ky. (LEX 18) — Since the beginning of the pandemic, the Lexington-Fayette County Health Department reports no citations for exceeding the gathering size mandated by Gov. Andy Beshear.

For weeks, the gathering size limit in Kentucky has been 10 people.

The Lexington-Fayette County Health Department spokesman Kevin Hall explained it is for good reason.

"We have our staff talking to these cases; they're talking to these families in the contact tracing investigation," he said. "We know that these are real people, these are people in Lexington who are suffering and people who are very, very sick and unfortunately people who are dying."

When a complaint does come into their office, the health department calls that business, and a few days later follows up with an in-person visit.

"There have been businesses who have received the warning the verbal discussion, and then we follow up within five days," Hall said. "But as at this point, no place has gone on to say that 'we're not going to follow this; we're not enforcing this.' Most of the time, our inspectors, when they go to a spot, they come back and say 'I'm shocked at how agreeable they were.'"

Hall said their jurisdiction only goes so far, though, as they cannot make calls to private residences.

"The health department has no role in that because we can't come into your home and tell you what you eat, whether you should or shouldn't smoke and in this case, if you should be wearing your mask or having fewer than 10 people at your residence," he said.

Instead, Hall said all they can do is make suggestions.

"Our recommendations are no matter why you're gathering, where you're gathering, keep it to fewer than 10 people wear your mask, stay at least six feet apart from other people...who don't live with you in that household; wash your hands frequently," he said.

The Lexington Police Department said they will only get involved in a gathering size discrepancy if there is a disturbance or noise complaint called into thier office.

"If you know somebody who is not on board with this, they're violating it, they don't follow the guidelines from the state and from the governor, talk to them reach out humanize this," Hall said. "Try to explain why you're trying to be a good neighbor by wearing your mask and not having large gatherings and encourage them to do the same. A little bit of just discussion can go a long way."