Protesters Disrupt Kentucky Governor's Coronavirus Briefing Demanding He Open Up The State

Protesters disrupted Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear's coronavirus briefing on Wednesday, chanting for him to open up the state and let people go back to work. Around 100 people had gathered on the lawn of the state capitol in Frankfort by the time Beshear's televised briefing began, the Louisville Courier Journal reported.

Demanding that the Democratic governor reopen businesses shuttered due to the coronavirus pandemic, they chanted "we want to work", "facts over fear," and "open up Kentucky" near a window outside the briefing room, according to the newspaper.

Beshear addressed the protesters part-way through his update, saying that although they had the right to express their opinion, reopening the state immediately would cause more deaths.

"We do have some folks up in here in Kentucky today, and everybody should be able to express their opinion, that believe we should reopen Kentucky immediately, right now," he said. "Folks, that would kill people. It would absolutely kill people."

Andy Beshear
Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear on November 5, 2019 in Louisville, Kentucky. Beshear's coronavirus briefing on Wednesday was disrupted by protesters demanding he reopen the state. John Sommers II/Getty Images

He said: "My job isn't to make the popular decision, but the right decision, and the decision that saves peoples' lives." Beshear's office has been contacted for additional comment.

Many of the demonstrators were seen standing less than 6 feet from each other, according to footage broadcast by WYMT. But one protester told the station that she didn't believe standing in a crowd was endangering anyone's health as "there's a lot of fresh air out here."

She added that Beshear's closing of Kentucky's economy was harming more people. "I don't think I'm endangering anyone and I think the governor is endangering a lot of people by not letting families work," she said. "I understand the need for caution but I think it's gone way past anything reasonable."

Beshear reported 88 new cases of COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus, and seven new deaths during Wednesday's briefing, bringing Kentucky's total to 2,291 cases and 122 deaths.

He also announced that he would coordinate with the governors of Indiana and Ohio about when to lift restrictions put in place to curb the spread of the virus.

Beshear issued a "Healthy At Home" order urging Kentuckians to stay at home from March 26 and directed only "life-sustaining" businesses to remain open.

Wednesday's protest in Kentucky occurred as a similar, but larger rally took place outside Michigan's state capitol in Lansing against the state's stay-at-home order. Michigan Governor said the event was a "political rally" and that the protesters had put people's health at risk.

This infographic, provided by Statista, shows the spread of COVID-19 cases in the U.S. as of April 15.

The spread of the COVID-19 virus in the U.S.
The spread of the COVID-19 virus in the U.S. STATISTA

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Advice on Using Face Coverings to Slow Spread of COVID-19

  • CDC recommends wearing a cloth face covering in public where social distancing measures are difficult to maintain.
  • A simple cloth face covering can help slow the spread of the virus by those infected and by those who do not exhibit symptoms.
  • Cloth face coverings can be fashioned from household items. Guides are offered by the CDC. (https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prevent-getting-sick/diy-cloth-face-coverings.html)
  • Cloth face coverings should be washed regularly. A washing machine will suffice.
  • Practice safe removal of face coverings by not touching eyes, nose, and mouth, and wash hands immediately after removing the covering.

World Health Organization advice for avoiding spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19)

Hygiene advice

  • Clean hands frequently with soap and water, or alcohol-based hand rub.
  • Wash hands after coughing or sneezing; when caring for the sick; before, during and after food preparation; before eating; after using the toilet; when hands are visibly dirty; and after handling animals or waste.
  • Maintain at least 1 meter (3 feet) distance from anyone who is coughing or sneezing.
  • Avoid touching your hands, nose and mouth. Do not spit in public.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or bent elbow when coughing or sneezing. Discard the tissue immediately and clean your hands.

Medical advice

  • Avoid close contact with others if you have any symptoms.
  • Stay at home if you feel unwell, even with mild symptoms such as headache and runny nose, to avoid potential spread of the disease to medical facilities and other people.
  • If you develop serious symptoms (fever, cough, difficulty breathing) seek medical care early and contact local health authorities in advance.
  • Note any recent contact with others and travel details to provide to authorities who can trace and prevent spread of the disease.
  • Stay up to date on COVID-19 developments issued by health authorities and follow their guidance.

Mask and glove usage

  • Healthy individuals only need to wear a mask if taking care of a sick person.
  • Wear a mask if you are coughing or sneezing.
  • Masks are effective when used in combination with frequent hand cleaning.
  • Do not touch the mask while wearing it. Clean hands if you touch the mask.
  • Learn how to properly put on, remove and dispose of masks. Clean hands after disposing of the mask.
  • Do not reuse single-use masks.
  • Regularly washing bare hands is more effective against catching COVID-19 than wearing rubber gloves.
  • The COVID-19 virus can still be picked up on rubber gloves and transmitted by touching your face.