Democratic Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear said the state will enforce its stay-at-home measures by recording license plates of any person attending Easter services or other gatherings.
“This is a time and weekend, a whole week for multiple faiths, that is about faith. It’s about knowing we have faced as people – as Christians, as Jews, as members of many faiths – many difficult, dark times, and we have prevailed,” Beshear said Friday. “We know that the weeks or the months ahead will be difficult. We know that there are going to be tougher days before there are easier days.”
“This is the only way we can ensure that your decision doesn’t kill someone else,” Beshear said Friday.
Beshear’s administration is only aware of about six churches that are still planning to hold in-person services within the state. Anyone who attends will be charged with a misdemeanor violation of the emergency orders issued by the governor and Kentucky Department for Public Health in response to the coronavirus.
Instead of attending services, residents are encouraged to instead “meet together separately.”
“Folks, we shouldn’t have to do this,” the governor said. “What we’re asking is for you to love your neighbor as yourself. We shouldn’t have to do this.”
Republican Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul was displeased by the governor’s decision, telling him he needs to “take a step back.” (RELATED: ‘Take A Step Back’: Rand Paul Rips Kentucky Governor Over Easter Church Measures)
Taking license plates at church? Quarantining someone for being Christian on Easter Sunday? Someone needs to take a step back here.
Kentucky Governor Announces Plan to Record License Plates of Easter Church Goers and Force Them to Quarantine for 14 Days https://t.co/z7U42liQRh
— Senator Rand Paul (@RandPaul) April 11, 2020
“Taking license plates at church? Quarantining someone for being Christian on Easter Sunday? Someone needs to take a step back here,” the senator tweeted.
Kentucky’s Attorney General Daniel Cameron also expressed his concern on Twitter Saturday.
“Directing a uniformed presence at church services to record the identity of worshippers and to force a quarantine, while doing no such thing for the people gathered at retail stores or obtaining an abortion, is the definition of arbitrary.”
I encourage all Kentuckians to social distance and celebrate Easter in their homes, as I’ll be doing.
I am, however, deeply concerned that our law enforcement officers are being asked to single out religious services. (1/2)
— Attorney General Daniel Cameron (@kyoag) April 11, 2020
Kentucky has a total of around 1,700 coronavirus cases, with the largest single-day increase yet of 242 new cases reported Friday, according to the Lexington Herald Leader.