By Eli Hughes–

The Office of Gov. Andy Beshear announced in a press release March 16 several steps the state government would be taking to limit the spread of COVID-19.

The steps include postponing the May primary elections and closing restaurants except for carry out, delivery and drive-thru.

The primary elections will now be held June 23. This decision affects the Democratic primary, the Republican primary, local elections and special elections. Beshear made the executive order to postpone elections on recommendation from Secretary of State Michael Adams.

“Postponing the primary was not an easy decision,” said Adams. “But the Republican secretary of state and the Democratic governor agree, and so do county clerks of both parties. And they are our front line election administrators.”

Beshear also released the steps bars and restaurants would be expected to take to minimize person-to-person interaction. According to Beshear’s executive order, restaurants are only permitted to make sales through carry-out, delivery and drive-thru.

Within these guidelines, restaurants are also supposed to ensure that patrons and employees maintain a 6-feet social distance. Bars are also closed and alcohol sales are restricted to carry-out, delivery and drive-thru.

In the press release, Beshear also announced that childcare facilities will be expected to close by March 20. The only exceptions will be for health-care providers and certain employers who offer on-site services.

Government offices are also closed to in-person services, and driver licenses that are close to expiring will be extended another three months to accommodate this.

Beshear has also issued an executive order that will waive the seven day wait period for unemployment and ensure that Kentucky residents who have temporarily lost their jobs due to COVID-19 will be eligible for unemployment insurance benefits.

Beshear also announced that his administration has applied for a Small Business Administration Economic Injury Disaster Loan Declaration. This will help businesses struggling economically because of COVID-19.

“I realize many of the steps I am taking to protect Kentuckians during this COVID-19 emergency are affecting employers and workers financially. Temporarily waiving some of the UI benefit rules during this time is one step I can do to help protect Kentuckians financially,” Beshear said. “I know this is a difficult time but we are going to get through this by working together to help each other.”

More information about COVID-19 can be found on the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s website and Kentucky’s COVID-19 website. Kentucky residents who need advice regarding COVID-19 can call the state’s hotline at 1.800.722.5725.

File Graphic // The Louisville Cardinal