- Associated Press - Friday, July 10, 2020

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) - A new requirement for Kentuckians to wear face masks in public has taken effect, despite a county court’s restraining order related to pandemic restrictions, Gov. Andy Beshear said Friday.

Beshear said the mask order went into effect at 5 p.m. Friday, and it is “mandatory, regardless of anything else that’s out there.”

Beshear was speaking of a two-page temporary restraining order issued in Scott County Thursday. The judge who wrote the order said it blocks the governor from issuing future executive orders related to the pandemic, unless Beshear first meets a list of requirements described in the order.

Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron on Friday asked that judge, Brian Privett, to rule on the governor’s order requiring masks in public. Cameron, a Republican, said his office filed a motion in Scott County that asks Privett if Beshear’s mask order should be blocked by the restraining order.

Beshear called the restraining order “bizarre” and “not legal” during a media briefing Friday afternoon. The governor said the ruling would be appealed and likely end up before the Kentucky Supreme Court.

Newly reported cases of COVID-19 have increased in recent days in Kentucky, prompting Beshear to issue the 30-day order requiring masks in public places. On Friday, the state reported its second-highest mark on new daily cases with 426. Three of Kentucky’s highest daily counts for new coronavirus cases have occurred this week.

Judge Privett’s restraining order stems from a lawsuit that challenged Beshear’s restrictions on agritourism businesses due to the pandemic. Cameron and state agriculture secretary Ryan Quarles were parties in the lawsuit. Privett’s said his order also blocked COVID-19 requirements at those businesses all over the state.

Beshear said Cameron “is the only AG in the country suing their governor over these restrictions.”

On Friday Beshear read a list of ages of children, one as young as three months old, among the newly reported cases.

“This happens to our kids, too,” he said. “Whatever your reason to wear a mask, that’s a pretty good one.”

Cameron is a former top aide to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who has been traveling around Kentucky this week advocating the use of face masks. McConnell, who is running for a seventh term in the Senate, called wearing masks “the right thing to do.”

Cameron said in a statement Friday that he believes it is appropriate to wear a mask but he wants to determine if Beshear’s mask order “follows state law.”

Cameron said Beshear has “refused input on his executive orders, despite offers of assistance.”

“This pattern has led to numerous challenges in court, all of which he has lost,” Cameron said.


Follow AP coverage of the virus outbreak at https://apnews.com/VirusOutbreak and https://apnews.com/UnderstandingtheOutbreak.

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