Masks off and Beshear lifting all restrictions June 11

FRANKFORT, Ky. (KT) – Gov. Andy Beshear announced Friday that in addition to following the CDC by eliminating the mask mandate in most places for people who are fully vaccinated, all capacity restrictions will be lifted on June 11.

“The COVID-19 vaccines have proven more effective at stopping death and serious illness and more effective at reducing the transmission of the virus than we ever could have expected,” he said during a virtual press conference.  “So much so, that the CDC has now given the green light for vaccinated Americans to return to much of their normal lives.”

He noted 1.8 million Kentuckians have been vaccinated against the coronavirus.  “That means 53% of adults are now protected, including 80% of adults over 65.”

On Monday, he said capacities at businesses and other venues would be raised from 60% to 75% on May 28, for those under 1,000 people.  Now he is expanding that to events with over 1,000 on that date, which is also when curfews will end.  In addition, “I am announcing that we will return to 100% capacity for all venues and events on June 11.”

He explained why he is not lifting all restrictions immediately.  “One month gives our 12 to 15-year-olds the necessary time to get vaccinated.  Remember, the very first opportunity for them to get vaccinated in Kentucky was Thursday.  One month also gives notice and time to everyone else who has not received their ‘shot of hope.’”

Beshear said, “A return to full capacity could raise the risk of exposure to those not vaccinated.  But the solution is to get your vaccine.  We have lost more than 6,600 Kentuckians to COVID.  We shouldn’t and we don’t have to lose any more.”

There are some exceptions to the lifting of the mask mandate, as for the time being, the CDC guidance still calls for wearing masks in crowded indoor settings like buses, planes, hospitals, long term care facilities like nursing homes, prisons, and homeless shelters.

The governor issued a new executive order taking the changes to the mask mandate into account.

To remove the burden from businesses on having to rely on the honor system when it comes to customers being masked or unmasked, Beshear said, “They can post the rules, they can make announcements.  They don’t need to be checking for anybody’s vaccinations cards.  On June 11, unless they are one of the very specific number of locations, they won’t have to worry about it at all.”

To see all vaccination sites in Kentucky, the vaccines they offer, and free transportation options to and from vaccination appointments, visit vaccine.ky.gov.

To see a list of vaccination sites that still have openings this week, visit vaccinemap.ky.gov, and choose your county from the drop-down menu.