Gov. Andy Beshear issued an executive order that extends the 30-day mask mandate to start effective at 5 p.m. Sept. 7, as a means to protect against the spread of COVID-19.

Beshear said in a statement on Sept. 4 that the public must continue to wear a mask, social distance and practice good hand-washing in order to protect against COVID-19.

“We’re trying to keep our businesses open and get our economy to bounce back,” Beshear said. “We’re going to get our kids back in school later this month. We’re trying to get high school sports up and going and keep them going. So we really need you to help us on all the other things like wearing a mask, washing your hands frequently and social distancing.”

This new mandate is a continuation of the previous 30-day mandates in July and renewed in August, which require that all Kentuckians wear face masks or facial coverings when in certain public situations.

Beshear originally issued the mandate as a result of continuous case spikes throughout the state. Wearing a mask has been proven as one of the most effective ways to prevent the spread of COVID-19, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Kentuckians must wear a facial covering “while inside or waiting in line to enter any retail or grocery store, pharmacy, hair salon/barbershop, nail salon/spa, tattoo parlor, child care facility, restaurant or bar (when not seated and consuming a food or beverage), health care setting or any other indoor public space in which it is difficult to maintain a physical distance of at least six feet from all individuals who are not members of that person’s household,” according to the executive order.

Kentuckians should also wear facial coverings or face masks if they are in transit, riding a taxi, using a private car service or a ride-sharing vehicle or while driving a taxi, private car service or ride-sharing vehicle.

There are exemptions to the mandate. Some of them include children who are 5 years old or younger; people with physical or mental disabilities that prevent them from wearing a mask; anyone who is seated and actively eating or drinking at a restaurant, bar or other establishment that offers food or drink; anyone actively engaging in exercise in a gym or indoor facility while keeping social distancing; anyone swimming in a lake, pool or other body of water; and anyone engaging in athletic practice, among others.

“Failure to follow the requirements provided in this order … must result in a loss of access to a business’s services,” according to the executive order. “Failure to follow the requirements could also subject a person or entity to penalties as authorized by law. All local, county and city government offices and agencies are encouraged to adopt or incorporate the requirements provided in this order.”

As of 5 p.m. on Sept. 6, in Kentucky, there have been 52,774 total positive cases of COVID-19 and 996 deaths. On Friday, Sept. 4, when Beshear issued the renewal of this order, 809 new cases of COVID-19 were reported, along with 11 new deaths.

On Sept. 5, 790 new cases were reported, with six new deaths, and 313 cases were reported on Sept. 6, with three new deaths. Beshear said in a statement that the number of reported cases is often lower during the weekends.

“We’re seeing a dip in the number of new reported cases today, as we often do on weekends,” Beshear said. “Let’s remember that while we believe we’ve managed to hit a plateau in the growth of cases, what we really need is to have that number go down in a sustained way.”

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