Ahead of Thanksgiving, Beshear shares highest Monday cases and responds to restrictions

Andrew Dixon

Three days out from Thanksgiving, Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear is doubling down on warnings about holiday plans and the surge of COVID-19 cases in the Commonwealth.

At his press conference on Monday, Nov. 23, Beshear responded to criticisms of new restrictions that began the week prior.

Beginning on Friday, Nov. 20, restaurants were ordered to cease indoor dining. Bars, gyms and all public schools were affected by restrictions as well; weddings were limited to under 50 people, and gatherings were limited to 8 people or two households.

“Restaurants and bars are clearly spreading, if not the greatest spread of COVID-19,” Beshear said, citing the CDC, Johns Hopkins and Stanford University studies. “Any effort to lessen the exponential growth we’re seeing right now requires this step.”

Some restaurants are resisting the measures, while others have taken to expanding outdoor dining with tents to combat the cold weather.

Beshear is reviewing the options for tents outside of restaurants and bars, saying he does not want them to become an indoor area that completely contradicts the ban. He also said that he does not plan on extending these restrictions if places comply.

According to Beshear, he only knows of two restaurants that have violated the restrictions. One had their food license taken away.

Anotehr area of concern is the advent of college basketball season, with UK beginning play on Wednesday.

Beshear said he doesn’t believe that having limited capacity at college basketball arenas, will be a problem or a mass spreader, but adds no food and drink will be served at these arenas until the restriction is lifted.

Gov. Beshear also expressed his concern for COVID-19 spread in the childcare/daycare system. 15 more daycares shut down due to exposure.

Beshear shared new updates on COVID-19 numbers across the state, saying that once again he is reporting the highest number of cases for a Monday.

“For the first time in a week, we had 20,000 cases in one week,” Beshear said. With 2,135 cases reported on Nov. 23, hospitalizations and ICU patients are now higher than they ever have been – 1,300 and 391 Kentuckians, respectively.

Beshear also announced five new deaths.

“We are at war, we are. We have lost 1,700 people. It is our job to fight back.” Beshear states. “We are going to get through this together.”

Dr. Steven Stacks, public health commissioner, asked Kentuckians to only celebrate Thanksgiving with their own households and not to have gatherings to combat the virus.

Beshear believes that Thanksgiving will be a super spreader event, no matter the restrictions that are in place, and that is why he advised for schooling to be virtual until December 13th.

“I love Thanksgiving, and I know you do too,” Beshear said. “Who’s with us next Thanksgiving depends on how we act this Thanksgiving.”