FRANKFORT, Ky. — Kentucky leaders and organizations, including medical, business and elected leaders of both parties, have voiced their support for Gov. Andy Beshear’s order requiring face coverings in public.
On Thursday, Beshear announced a requirement for Kentuckians to wear a face covering to protect themselves, their loved ones and their community and to stop the spread of COVID-19. The Governor issued the order to save lives, allow the economy to stay open and to open schools in the fall. This week, other states are seeing spikes in cases that have led to them to shut some businesses back down.
Top leaders of both parties have been supportive of wearing masks and organizations including the Kentucky Hospital Association and Kentucky Chamber of Commerce agree the measure is necessary given the growing number of cases across the country and in the commonwealth.
According to health experts, wearing face coverings not only protects others, it also lowers the infection risk for those wearing masks by 65%. According to Goldman Sachs, if everyone in America was required to wear face coverings in public, it could save the U.S. economy from losing 5% of the Gross Domestic Product. Beshear noted that 5% of Kentucky’s Gross State Product alone is $10.4 billion. So far, about half of states have implemented some sort of order mandating face coverings, although details vary.
On Monday, Beshear pointed to a recent poll that found that Kentuckians overwhelmingly back his mandate for face coverings, with 73% supporting versus 23% opposing.
Some of those voicing support for the measure to protect Kentuckians and reduce the spread of COVID-19 include:
Kentucky Hospital Association: “KHA & its member hospitals fully support @GovAndyBeshear’s mandate for KY to wear masks. Masks are the #1 way to prevent the spread of COVID-19 which is why KY hospitals instituted universal masking rules when they resumed elective procedures. Let’s keep KY infection rates low!”
Kentucky Primary Care Association: “At the Kentucky Primary Care Association, we believe it’s everyone’s responsibility to wear a mask or face covering in public places. We ask that you join us and our member clinics in wearing a mask in public. It only takes a couple of seconds so cover up to protect those around you.”
Garren Colvin, president and chief executive officer of St. Elizabeth Healthcare: “We wholeheartedly support the Governor’s call to wear face masks in public. We know this is simply the most effective means of preventing transmission of COVID-19, and represents our best opportunity to diminish the ravaging effects of this pandemic until a vaccine is developed.”
Kentucky Distillers’ Association: “The KDA and our Kentucky Bourbon Trail and Kentucky Bourbon Trail Craft Tour distilleries will continue to abide by the Governor’s Executive Orders to protect the health and safety of the citizens of the commonwealth, our employees and visitors during the pandemic.”
John Stovall, president of Teamsters 783: “We support Gov. Beshear taking this additional step today to keep our members safe. Masks will not only keep our hard-working employees healthy, but it will keep our economy going and moving forward on to the road to recovery.”
Ashli Watts, president and chief executive officer of the Kentucky Chamber of Commerce: “The business community is supportive of wearing masks as a way to keep the economy going and to keep our workforce and fellow Kentuckians safe. We will be reviewing Gov. Beshear’s executive order and providing feedback and comments to the administration.”
Lexington Mayor Linda Gorton: “We want our economy to be able to open safely. We want our schools to be able to open safely. If the numbers of COVID-19 cases continue to surge, it won’t be safe. Throughout this pandemic, Gov. Beshear has made the tough calls to keep Kentuckians safe. He’s doing that again today.”
Bell County Judge Executive Albey Brock, a Republican: “If it happens that we have to end up going back to some of that closing-type stuff, it’s going to be because people wouldn’t wear masks. That’s what it’s going to boil down to …. No matter what is going on out there nationally, it should be common sense if you’ve got this mask on you’re protecting yourself and others. I don’t need a scientific study to tell me that. Common sense tells me if I’m covering my mouth that it’s going to help me protect myself from an airborne virus.”
Warren County Judge-Executive Mike Buchanon, a Republican: “I strongly support Governor Beshear’s difficult decision to order mandatory mask-wearing in public. I believe it will slow the spread of the coronavirus, save lives and help us to keep our businesses open and our people working safely. Citizens should gladly support the mandatory mask policy. Wearing a mask is not a lot to ask and is the least we can do to protect our friends, neighbors and family members. Wearing a mask in public will help to slow the spread of the virus and allow us to get back to work, to rebuild our businesses and revive our previously strong economy.”
U.S. Rep. John Yarmuth, D-Louisville, Chairman of the House Budget Committee: “Wearing a mask can save your life and the lives of those around you. Thank you, @GovAndyBeshear, for making this critically important and necessary decision to keep Kentuckians safe.”
Dr. Joe Kingery, Associate Dean of Osteopathic Medical Education, University of Pikeville-Kentucky College of Osteopathic Medicine: “I am one of those health care providers urging everyone to wear a mask. #TeamKentucky #TogetherKy @GovAndyBeshear”
Others who have voiced support for wearing masks include:
University of Kentucky men’s basketball Coach John Calipari: “Yes, I am ready for basketball. I’m ready to get our students back on campus. But we’ve got to protect each other. We’ve got to wear our masks. … It protects everybody, but we’re hearing now it’ll protect you. We in our state have done an unbelievable job. Let’s take it up a notch. This is like when I’m coaching, and we’re winning, and I’m being even harder. We are winning. Let’s be stronger. Understand this isn’t a statement. The only statement we make when we put a mask on is, ‘We care about you’ and to be honest now they’re saying ‘you’re caring about yourself.’”
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Louisville: “Every citizen in the United States should feel a responsibility to themselves and the people around them to wear a mask!”
Sen. McConnell on the Senate floor: “We must have no stigma, none, about wearing masks when we leave our homes and come near other people. Wearing simple face coverings is not about protecting ourselves. It is about protecting everyone we encounter.”
Oldham County Schools: “‘Why do I wear a mask? I wear one for my wife, my family, and for you. I’m just trying to do my part to slow down the spread of COVID 19.’ – Greg Schultz, OCS Superintendent #maskupTeamOldham #whyIwearamask #TeamOldham”
Ellis Park Racing & Gaming: “Ellis Park strives to provide a safer, healthier Fast Track to Fun for all of our wonderful guests in the wake of COVID-19. That’s why, beginning tomorrow, Monday, July 6th, masks will be mandatory for all guests, employees, and vendors at Ellis Park.”