Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear Mandates Wearing Masks Amid Rise In Coronavirus Cases

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Varun Hukeri General Assignment & Analysis Reporter
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Democratic Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear announced in a press briefing Thursday that beginning Friday the state would require all residents to wear masks in public for 30 days amid rising coronavirus cases.

The mask mandate would apply to outdoor public spaces where social distancing is possible, such as parks, as well most businesses, including restaurants and retail stores, The Hill reported. Those who did not comply with the mandate would face a fine.

The executive order cites an “explosion” in coronavirus cases in Kentucky. The state reported 333 cases Thursday and has recorded more than 18,000 total cases and 612 deaths, according to state government data. The executive order also cites a Goldman Sachs study which concluded that the state could face a $10 billion economic loss by not mandating masks.

“I believe if we’re clear, and we don’t have a lot of exceptions, and people absolutely know the expectation, it gives us our very best chance of getting it done,” Beshear said during the press briefing.

Local health departments have been ordered to help enforce the mandate, although Beshear said it would also come down to people and businesses willfully following the order, the Lexington Herald Reader reported. “It’s all going to come down to whether we are willing to do it,” the governor said.

More than 20 states have already mandated wearing masks in public places, including Texas and California. (RELATED: Pennsylvania Governor Says Statewide Mask Order Could Last ‘Until We Get A Vaccine’)

The executive order includes some exceptions, including for children under 5 and people with certain health conditions such as asthma. People would also be exempt from wearing masks if consuming food, swimming, or exercising insofar as they follow social distancing guidelines.

Beshear stated that once the 30-day period was over the state government would review data on new infections, mortality rates and hospitalizations in order to determine what steps the government would need to take, The Hill reported.