It is what the governor ordered.
Hopkins County Public Health Director Denise Beach said the health department was instructed Tuesday to start handing out citations to businesses or individuals who are not compliant with the mask mandate issued by Gov. Andy Beshear.
Beshear has said that the 30-day mandate — issued July 10 — will likely be renewed.
“We have no desire to issue citations,” Beach said.
She suggested that citizens help the health department and themselves by wearing masks and practicing social-distancing. So far, the health department has only issued warnings and shared information to those who are noncompliant.
In response to the mask mandate, the Hopkins County Health Department established a hotline for citizens to report noncompliant businesses. In the first couple weeks, the department was receiving about 25 calls a day. That number has since declined to about 10, Beach said.
Most of those calls are about businesses that are already on the department’s radar. Environmentalists from the department vet the complaints and issue a warnings or citations.
The first citation forces the business or individual to pay a $25 fine. The next citation gives the business a $50 fine, followed by $75 and $100 fines.
Following the last fine, the business’s name will be turned over to the labor cabinet, Beach said. The labor cabinet can decide to shut a business down. Beach said the mask mandate and enforcement can also be extended to individuals in public, but the focus of the local health department is on businesses, as that is where people come together in groups.
“We really don’t want to be in the enforcement business,” she added.
Citizens can reach the health department to report instances of public noncompliance at the hotline number, 270-821-5242, extension 258.
Hopkins County has had 120 cases since June 28 and about 500 people have been quarantined as a result, Beach said. Also, the county is seeing an increase of cases in young people who work in the service industry. She reminds citizens to give business to those people who keep you safe.
The latest restrictions, including the decrease of restaurant capacity from 50% to 25% and the closure of bars for two weeks and the issuance of a travel advisory, are “stressful on businesses,” Beach said. Customers should help the business comply with the orders.
“Please be kind and work with the business,” she said.
On Tuesday, the health department announced that the county has a total of 374 cases, an increase of nine from Monday. Of those nine people, four are in the 0-20 age range, four are in the 21-40 range and another is in the 41-60 range. Of those nine, six are female and three are male. None of the new nine cases are in long-term care facilities. Of the 374 cases, 287 are recovered and 53 are active cases. The death count sits at 34.
In his update Tuesday afternoon, Beshear announced 532 new cases, taking the state total to 28,126. Ten more people died, bringing that toll to 719. Of the 599,251 tested, 7,470 have recovered. The state’s positivity rate is 5.08%.
Beshear previously issued a travel advisory, stating that those who take trips to states that have 15% or higher positivity rates should self-quarantine for 14 days after returning to the commonwealth. Those states are South Carolina, Arizona, Idaho, Florida, Alabama and Mississippi.
In other news, starting Monday the Kentucky State Police will have an online service set up to help citizens schedule road tests. Guests can make an appointment at https://kentuckystate police.org by clicking on “Drivers Testing” and selecting a date and time from the calendar. Test-takers must wear masks when taking the test.