Gov. Andy Beshear March 23, 2020 presser

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- All "non-life-sustaining" businesses in Kentucky will be closed to in-person traffic by 8 p.m. Thursday as Kentucky officials try to limit the spread of the novel coronavirus known as COVID-19, Gov. Andy Beshear said Tuesday.

Details were scant on which businesses will be affected during the governor's daily news conference from the Capitol, during which he announced at least 39 new COVID-19 cases in the state for a total of 163.

Beshear said the businesses impacted by the latest order will be spelled out in an executive order Wednesday.

Many businesses and retailers have already closed to in-person traffic, and Beshear said staples like groceries, pharmacies and gas stations will continue to operate throughout the state's response to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

In a news release Tuesday night, Beshear said "banks, hardware stores, agricultural operations, media, businesses needed for transportation, logistics, shipping, delivery and pick-up, housing, building and construction, laundry, financial services, home-based care and services, professional services, manufacturing and other businesses key to national interests or life-sustaining goods or services, and those covered under the federal critical infrastructure sector" can also stay open. 

"A large part of our economy is life-sustaining when you look at the different needs that we have, but there are going to be a significant number of businesses that will fall into the category of either number one not being life-sustaining or number two now being required to telework or significantly alter the way that they go about their business," Beshear said.

He said attorneys, accountants and those in real estate can work from home. 

"If we truly want to stop the coronavirus, we have to make sure we're taking the steps that we need to, and yes, this is tough on our economy," he said. 

Beshear announced Monday the creation of the Team Kentucky Fund, a tax-deductible donation program to help those affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Thousands of Kentuckians have sought unemployment benefits since measures have been taken to limit social interactions.

The Small Business Administration has also made low-interest loans available to businesses to help them weather the economic ramifications of the outbreak.

Beshear said the steps his administration takes in response to the COVID-19 outbreak will be re-evaluated after 10 days, but he cautioned that that doesn't mean they'll be rolled back at that time.

"I can almost guarantee that we're not," Beshear said.

His stance is in contrast to President Donald Trump, who has said he expects businesses to operate as normal by Easter, which is April 12.

Asked about the president's timeline, Beshear said he wouldn't put such deadlines on Kentucky's response to the global pandemic.

"I think all of us have to be ready to wait however long it takes if it helps people," Beshear said after sharing that his son volunteered to postpone his baptism, which was scheduled for Easter. 

"We are now just seeing the escalation of this virus, and to suggest that there is a short duration that we could almost promise people is not something that we should be doing."

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