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Beshear: Masks, face coverings encouraged starting May 11

Beshear says wearing masks will help reduce the spread of the virus when Kentuckians increase contact.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — As Kentucky begins to reopen, Gov. Andy Beshear says every employee in essential businesses and consumers in areas reopening must wear masks. 

The measure is expected to take place beginning May 11.

"This is how, even when we are plateaued right now that we think that we will be on the decline, we can help to reduce the spread of this virus," Beshear said. 

You don't need any sort of surgical mask, like N-95's. The governor said cloth of any kind will be okay.

Beshear said at Monday's press briefing that wearing masks will help reduce the spread of the virus when Kentuckians increase contact as businesses re-open. The first phase of re-opening will take place gradually in four one-week increments on May 11, May 18, May 25 and June 1. 

"It's going to look very different to us," Gov. Beshear said. "While it's gonna seem strange and is probably uncomfortable, I want us to know that this is just another small sacrifice that we can make to make sure that we keep each other safe."

The governor made it clear that wearing a mask is mandatory for businesses and their employees. 

"If a business is not masking well then that can be grounds ultimately to temporarily shut down that business," he said.

Individuals will not be cited if caught without a mask on. However, you will be asked to wear one.

"We're also going to need people to wear these to the grocery store or other places that they're going out where there are other people," Beshear said. 

Any forward-facing businesses will have the ability to not serve people without masks. 

Supplies to make, or even order, masks are already in low-supply, making it more difficult for businesses to be able to comply with the PPE requirements for re-opening. The demand for masks will now be higher, as Beshear said everyone has two weeks to ensure they have one. 

Amy Jean Tyler has been making masks for about five weeks, since the virus began to spread in the Commonwealth. 

"So far altogether I've made over 500," Tyler said. "I just think it's important that we as people can help out, make a difference in any way we can."

Tyler has made masks for the homeless, healthcare workers, police officers, nursing homes and essential store workers. 

"I wanted to make sure I could hop on this and just make as many as I could," she said. "Masks are in high demand. I had somebody ask if I could make them 1,200."

With the mask requirement, Tyler said she expects to continue making even more masks in the coming weeks. She encourages everyone to wear one, even if the governor said those who don't wear them will not be cited. 

"Wear your mask because you never know whats going to happen. It's so unpredictable right now," Tyler said. "We're doing our part. We're doing our part and that's what matters."

Beshear is expected to announce more information on Wednesday for his plans of gradually reopening the state.

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