Small, in-home day-care providers who care for 10 or fewer children can reopen their businesses June 8, Gov. Andy Beshear announced Thursday during his coronavirus briefing.

Larger child-care centers must wait until June 15.

Beshear also announced auctions can resume June 1, and horse shows can begin June 8.

Also, the governor is targeting June 29 as a date for bars to reopen and gatherings to increase to 50 or fewer people.

However, a large portion of Beshear’s press conference was dedicated to day cares.

“Child care is one of the areas that is critical to reopening the economy,” said Eric Friedlander, secretary of the Cabinet for Health and Family Services.

Since the beginning of March, the state has provided nearly $62 million in payments to child-care providers.

“We know we have child-care deserts,” Friedlander said. “We know we have places of need. We really can’t afford to lose many or any providers.”

State guidance for day-care centers was posted at HealthyatWork.Ky.Gov Thursday. It includes temperature and wellness checks for everyone, staggered play times, no field trips and centralized pickup and drop-off locations.

Children who are 5 and older should wear face masks, along with staff members. To limit exposure, kids must be in groups of 10 or fewer, and those groups should remain together all day.

In other business, families whose schoolchildren receive free-and-reduced lunches will receive extra benefits for buying groceries. It is a federal program through the Family First Act.

Parents already eligible for SNAP or TANF will not need to apply. The additional benefit will be added to their EBT cards.

Medicaid recipients will be eligible. EBT cards will be mailed to them automatically.

Some schools provide free-and-reduced meals to the entire student body. Therefore, parents whose children attend those schools can apply for this benefit. To apply, go to Benefind.Ky.Gov or call 855-306-8959.

Friedlander encouraged families to apply.

“Don’t feel like this is something that is selfish or you shouldn’t do or anything like that,” he said. “This is a program designed to help people.”

Beshear announced 135 new confirmed cases of COVID-19 Thursday, bringing the state’s total to 8,286.

The virus claimed 10 more lives statewide. To date, 386 Kentuckians have died.

Green River District Health Department officials reported 10 new confirmed COVID-19 cases — four in Daviess County, three in Henderson County and three in Ohio County. The total number of cases in the seven-county district is now 609.

Muhlenberg County Health Department officials reported one new case, bringing that county’s total to 481.

Renee Beasley Jones, 270-228-2835, rbeasleyjones@messenger-inquirer.com

Renee Beasley Jones, 270-228-2835, rbeasleyjones@messenger-inquirer.com

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