Judge blocks Kentucky virus limits on racetracks, child care


FILE – This undated electron microscope image made available by the U.S. National Institutes of Health in February 2020 shows the Novel Coronavirus SARS-CoV-2. Also known as 2019-nCoV, the virus causes COVID-19. The sample was isolated from a patient in the U.S. On Tuesday, April 21, 2020, U.S. health regulators OK’d the first coronavirus test that allows people to collect their own sample at home, a new approach that could help expand testing options in most states. The sample will still have to be shipped for processing back to LabCorp, which operates diagnostic labs throughout the U.S. (NIAID-RML via AP)

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — A judge has blocked some limits on auto racetracks and child care facilities put in place due to the coronavirus pandemic, reasoning that participating in those kind of businesses is a value judgment best left to individuals.

Boone Circuit Court Judge Richard Brueggemann’s ruling keeps Kentucky from enforcing a rule that prohibits fans, outside media or guests or family members from attending auto races.

Instead, the judge ruled those racetracks can operate at 50% capacity, assuming people can maintain a 6-foot social distance between households.

The judge also blocked a rule limiting child care facilities to 10 children per group, without combining children from other classrooms. The judge ordered a maximum group size of 28.

The judge wrote that it’s “unclear what criteria is being used to establish which businesses may survive versus those that must shutter.” He wrote that, for instance, Democratic Gov. Andy Beshear has allowed horse races, but not auto races.

“These are all parts of Americana. To be sure, people have preferences concerning which of these if any, they’d choose to participate,” the judge wrote in his ruling late Thursday. “But that is a value judgment. And it is a value judgment best left to individuals.”

The ruling sides with Florence Speedway and Little Links to Learning day care, which are among the plaintiffs suing the state over various orders to curb the spread of the coronavirus.

In court filings, Beshear’s administration says the claims in the lawsuit are “not only dangerous, they are wrong.”

Beshear’s office told the Lexington Herald-Leader that it plans to appeal the judge’s temporary injunction.

The judge also allowed Republican Attorney General Daniel Cameron, who has argued Beshear’s COVID-19 orders are “constitutionally suspect,” to intervene in the lawsuit.

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