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Kentuckians urged to start wearing face masks in public, businesses required to follow guidelines

"If you are operating a retail store or a restaurant, you can basically say you cannot come in here unless you have a mask on."

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Governor Andy Beshear wants everyone in Kentucky to wear a mask when out in public. The executive order went into effect Monday.

Beshear made the announcement two weeks ago hoping to give people enough time to get a mask. While it is not a requirement, the governor said it is a necessary step to take as businesses start reopening.

Americana Fiberworks has 900 masks for sale.

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"Very pleasantly surprised already with the response and I hope that we'll be able to keep up with the demand," programs director of the community center, Emilie Dyer said. 

Every buy will mean a free mask to its participants and families in need. 

"We live in a very mixed-income neighborhood and the families that Americana serves are often finding themselves in a position of financial instability," Dyer said. 

For the last two months, a dozen women have volunteered their time sewing the face coverings and donating them to essential workers like UofL Health's team.

"This is the first time they'll be able to redeem a profit for the efforts that they have put forth," Dyer said. 

Kentucky Chamber of Commerce has sent out 400,000 masks to businesses across the state.

"If you are operating a retail store or a restaurant and when those start to open up in the next couple of weeks, you can basically say you cannot come in here unless you have a mask on," president and CEO, Ashli Watts said.

There are also guidelines for businesses as they reopen which include a phased return to work, sanitizer, and a testing plan.

"Every employee before they enter the building is going to have to answer just a simple set of questions to make sure they have not been in contact with anyone with the coronavirus," Watts said. 

Officials are still figuring out what consequences may look like or how restaurants and retailers should handle disagreements with customers over the mask recommendation.

"We have never dealt with anything quite like this before so some of that is still uncertain," Watts said. 

If you do not think a business is complying with health recommendations, Watts said you can contact your local health department.

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