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Kentucky governor issues executive order limiting out of state travel

Traveling to states that may not have the same restrictions or orders in place as Kentucky could endanger many lives, Beshear says.

Governor Andy Beshear has issued an executive order barring Kentuckians from traveling to other states.

The order, originally signed on March 28, is asking Kentuckians to avoid unnecessary travel to Tennessee since the state failed to enact strict social distancing guidelines.

"The moment you go across the border, whether it's to get your hair or your nails or something else done," Gov. Beshear said Monday. "And you have that extra contact, you can bring it back to a person in your family that's working in a nursing home."

The few exceptions to the order allow you can still travel across state borders for your job, grocery shopping, to pick up medicine or other "necessities," to visit your healthcare provider, caring for loved ones or if a court order requires you to travel.

"What we don't want is your favorite barber is across the state line, we don't want you go to for that. The weather is turning really nice, we don't want you going for pedicures," La Tasha Buckner, chief of staff and general counsel for Gov. Beshear, said of the new order’s goal. “We want you to remain Healthy at Home."

However, if you do travel to another state for anything outside of that, officials want you to self-quarantine for 14 days. This also includes those who have been on spring break trips or other travel.

"We don't need to be traveling to other states right now, but we don't need to be traveling at all," Beshear said at Monday's press briefing. "Your likelihood of getting infected and potentially bringing back the coronavirus may be greater in other states than ours right now."

As for how the travel restrictions are going to be enforced, the governor didn't say anything about law enforcement's involvement. Kentucky's borders aren't strictly closed, and as of now, there won't be checkpoints set up, as some other states, like Florida, have begun to set up.

"The reality is the only way we're going to get people doing the right thing is because they agree to, is because they see it as their duty and they know their actions can harm other people," Beshear said. 

Kentucky has limited a number of activities to reduce the spread of the virus that has infected 480 people and killed 11.

"If you simply drive over the border to another state and have all the contacts we're trying to stop, you frustrate the sacrifice of those in your community," Beshear said Saturday.

Beshear said the state needs everybody to be at their best in the coming weeks to stop the spread of the virus and keep their neighbors safe.

RELATED: Real-time updates: Gov. Beshear confirms 45 new cases of COVID-19 in Kentucky

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NC County closed at Tennessee state line

As of Friday, Graham County in North Carolina is currently prohibiting traffic from entering the county. 

Graham County is attached to Cherohala Skyway SR 165 in Monroe County, which is now closed at the Tennessee and North Carolina state line, according to a press release. 

Officials said the following decisions and guidelines were also made:  

1. Cherohala Skyway NC 143 at the Graham County line will close at 5:00 pm on Friday, March 27, 2020. 

This closure will be a barricaded closure with no checkpoint. The Tennessee DOT is working cooperatively with Graham County and has the Tennessee side marked for the road closure to advise all traffic coming through Tellico Plains and on the Skyway, of the closure.

2. We will advise of the final date and timing of the closure of Hwy. 129 and NC 28 at Deal's Gap, NC 28 at Tsali, and US 129N at Topton as soon as more information becomes available. Officials said they are working out details with local and State officials on final timing.

3. Go to http://www.grahamcounty.org to continue to apply for entry permits. Due to extremely high volumes we are processing them as quickly as possible. Permits have been processed and will be emailed out as soon as practicable tomorrow, officials said. 

4. Public comments may be directed to public@grahamcounty.org.

5. Persons with either a Robbinsville, Almond or Topton address may pass through checkpoints, when opened, with their driver licenses only.

Motorists on US 129 in Blount County can enter North Carolina in Swain County, but again will be stopped at the Graham County line.

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