Kentucky governor threatens 14-day quarantine for going to mass gatherings, including church services

Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear warned Friday that any state residents attending a mass gathering -- including church services -- will be forced to self-quarantine for 14 days in a preemptive bid to slow the coronavirus outbreak in his state over Easter weekend.

"I think we’re down to seven churches statewide that are thinking about having an in-person service," Beshear told reporters. The governor has warned that churches should switch to virtual or drive-in services to accommodate worshippers while protecting public health.

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"I hear people say, 'It’s my choice,'" Beshear said. "Well, it’s not the person next to you’s choice ... This is the only way that we can ensure that your decision doesn’t kill somebody else, that your decision doesn’t spread the coronavirus in your county and in your community."

Under the new rules, people seen taking part in in-person events will have their license plate numbers recorded by authorities, who will provide the information to local health departments, Beshear said. Health officials will contact each participant and require them to go into quarantine for 14 days.

The governor also warned that those attending drive-in services must stay in their cars, park six feet away from their neighbor and not pass items between vehicles.

Beshear praised faith leaders for largely adhering to his admonitions against in-person worship services. The governor, a deacon at his church, frequently talks about his own faith while announcing another round of virus-related deaths or promoting social-distancing guidelines.

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“I have never been as sure of anything in my faith as I am in this: We must protect each other,” he said earlier this week.

Beshear reported 242 more coronavirus cases statewide Friday, raising the total to nearly 1,700 since the outbreak began. Eleven more virus-related deaths brought Kentucky’s death toll to 90.

At least 464 Kentucky residents have recovered from the virus, the governor said, adding "there are going to be tougher days than today."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.