How Will Kentucky Enforce the Mask Mandate?

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — The clock started running at 5 p.m. Friday on Governor Andy Beshear’s new 30-day mask mandate. With over 4.4. million people living here and others visiting every day, Secretary Eric Friedlander of Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services admits enforcing the new executive order isn’t easy.

“And a virus doesn’t care about politics or, you know, if somebody thinks it’s a hoax, the virus doesn’t care about that. The virus wants to infect somebody else…that’s all the virus cares about,” Friedlander said, adding the way to take care of that is by wearing a mask. 

Friedlander said enforcement right now is mainly up to individual businesses. They must ensure their employees and customers comply. 

If complaints come in, Friedlander said a local health department or the Labor Cabinet could be sent out to inspect a business and then cite and fine them, if necessary. Friedlander said the exact citations and fines are still being discussed. 

 “We’re not looking to fine folks. We’re not looking to do that, but when someone is doing something egregious, both on the local health departments and probably the Labor Cabinet, in terms of safety, will go in and inspect and if need be take action,” Friedlander told Spectrum News 1.

According to a CDC map , Kentucky is still doing better at keeping cases down compared to other states. However, Saturday Beshear said that Kentucky is no longer in a plateau. 

“This is another day where it shows that we are no longer in a plateau but cases are increasing. We must act now.” Saturday’s new COVID-19 cases included 453 for a total of at least 19,121 coronavirus cases in now in Kentucky. 

“Certain areas in [other] states starting to run out of ICU beds, we do not want to be there, right? We want to continue what we’ve been doing really well, and we continue to do pretty well, but you can’t let it get out of control.”

Friedlander said if people want everything to stay open and other things to re-open, like schools, then people have to wear a mask.

“You are protecting the people around you so it’s simple, and that’s what we should all be doing,” Friedlander said.

The mandate to wear a mask is in effect for 30 days. At the time, the executive order for the public to wear a mask is subject to renewal.