Kentucky will suspend all in-person instruction in elementary, middle and high schools beginning next week, ban indoor service at bars and restaurants and impose new limits on indoor gatherings, Gov. Andy Beshear announced on Wednesday, citing a steep rise in coronavirus cases and hospitalizations in the state.
“We are in the midst of exponential growth,” Governor Beshear said. “Our top five highest days ever in this virus of positive cases have all been in the last week.”
Kentucky joins a number of other states and cities that are imposing or reimposing restrictions as the virus rages out of control in much of the country.
Gov. Laura Kelly of Kansas announced a new statewide mask mandate on Wednesday. Gov. Tim Walz of Minnesota was expected to make an announcement Wednesday evening about new restrictions on fitness centers and indoor dining.
New York City said on Wednesday it was calling off in-person instruction in its public schools immediately, and officials in Denver said they would do so effective Nov. 30.
Kentucky reported 2,753 new coronavirus cases on Wednesday, a record, and hospitalizations for Covid-19 have risen by 40 percent in the last two weeks.
Middle and high schools in the state will not be allowed to resume in-person instruction until Jan. 4, 2021, the governor said. Elementary schools might resume as soon as Dec. 7, depending on conditions in each district. The suspension applies to both public and private schools.
Mr. Beshear said the ban on indoor restaurant and bar service and will take effect Friday and extend through Dec. 13. The state will set up a $40 million fund to help bar and restaurant owners with the financial repercussions, he said.
“This is not and will not be a shutdown,” he said. “Our economy is open.”
Private indoor gatherings in the state will be limited to eight people from no more than two different households, starting Friday, and indoor venues like movie theaters will be limited to 25 people, the governor said.