Kentucky Ag Commissioner And Orchard Sue Over COVID-19 Restrictions

Jun 29, 2020


Kentucky Agriculture Commissioner Ryan Quarles and a well-known central Kentucky orchard filed a lawsuit /Monday over COVID-19 restrictions.  Named as defendants are Governor Beshear and several of his cabinet and public health officials.  It seeks to declare several executive orders violations of Kentucky’s Administrative Practices Act and the state constitution.

The complaint focuses on limitations affecting Georgetown’s Evans Orchard and Cider Mill.  Quarles said the popular agritourist location wants clarity on what guidelines to follow. “I think that with more than a hundred days in this pandemic, over a hundred days of executive order with no end in sight, Kentuckians deserve the opportunity to have their voices heard with the rule-making process and with businesses like Evans Orchard, they want to comply.  They also want to do it safely,” said Quarles.

Orchard Co-Owner Jenny Evans said the family owned business has sanitized, requires face masks, and hired more employees to clean.  She added one of the major concerns is the limitation of 50 this summer for the 96,000 square foot playground.  The orchard representative noted the play area has seen about 2000 people so far where it usually finds about 30,000 participants annually.  Evans says this is not a politically based complaint.  “This is not political.  It’s a personal, passionate, it’s our family farm.  It’s our family business.  We didn’t want it to come off political.  It’s not.  It’s just what we have to do to try to save our farm.  And I can’t sit by and just watch it dwindle away,” noted Evans.

In response, the governor’s office said states to the south with Eight thousand daily coronavirus cases demonstrate the need for these restrictions.  Officials also say all businesses have to follow the same rules and guidance for outdoor weddings and other activities.  The statement goes on to say the administration has confidence in the legality of the rules and contends there are legal issues with the lawsuit.

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