Kentucky Governor Says In-Person Churchgoers Will Have License Plates Recorded, Be Forced to Quarantine for 14 Days

Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear announced Friday that anyone planning on attending in-person church services during the Easter weekend in defiance of public health restrictions intended to contain the spread of COVID-19 will be subject to an enforced 14-day quarantine.

Beshear also announced 242 new cases of COVID-19, the highest single day increase in the state so far. As of Friday, there were a total of 1,693 cases in the state, including 90 deaths and 464 recoveries. Beshear said that the highly contagious nature of the virus means that gatherings must be halted completely, regardless of the reason.

"Any individual that's going to go to a mass gathering of any type that we know about this weekend, we are going to record license plates and provide it to local health departments," said Beshear at a press conference. "Local health departments are going to come to your door with an order for you to be quarantined for 14 days."

Beshear said that "99.9 percent" of places of worship were complying with his emergency order, with officials aware of six churches that were planning on going forward with services regardless of the order.

The governor stressed that although some may believe they are exercising their religious rights and making personal choices about the risks they are exposing themselves to, they will not be allowed to endanger the lives of others.

"If you're going to expose yourself to this virus and you make that decision to do it, it's not fair to everybody else out there that you might spread it to," Beshear said. "This is just an example of personal responsibility."

Welcome to Kentucy Sign
Anyone hoping to drive to and attend Easter church services in Kentucky is likely to find themselves under government orders to quarantine for 14 days due to the COVID-19 pandemic. AndreyKrav/Getty

Most religious gatherings across the U.S. have either been cancelled or moved to virtual settings during the pandemic, although numerous services ignoring public health measures have been reported.

Pastor Tony Spell of Louisiana and Pastor Rodney Howard-Browne of Florida have both received considerable media attention after holding packed church services in defiance of efforts to contain the virus.

Spell has been charged with several misdemeanors for his refusal to follow the restrictions. Howard-Browne was also arrested, but Florida Governor Ron DeSantis' stay-at-home order later exempted religious gatherings as "essential business."

Beshear has expressed frustration with residents failing to observe the advice of public health experts before. He admonished residents who were said to have attended "coronavirus parties" intended to flout social distancing guidelines last month, with at least one attendee coming down with the virus afterwards.

"Don't be so callous as intentionally to go to something and expose yourself to something that can kill other people," Beshear said on March 24. "We ought to be much better than that... we simply can't have folks that are doing things like this."

Newsweek reached out to Beshear's office, who declined to comment further.