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COVID-19: More Restrictions to Be Lifted; Quarles Blasts Governor

More COVID-19-related restrictions on social gatherings were eased or soon will be, Governor Andy Beshear announced on Thursday.

Starting May 28, all events and businesses with 1,000 or fewer people present can increase to 75% capacity.

In addition, starting May 28, indoor and outdoor events with more than 1,000 people can be held at 60% capacity.

“The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is now projecting a sharp decline in COVID-19 cases by July. I’m hoping we’ll be fully done with all capacity restrictions by July. That is my expectation,” said Beshear. “We don’t have to be patient for that much longer, but we do have to finish our work and protect the people around us.”

Meanwhile, Beshear clarified that face masks are no longer mandated for small groups of individuals who gather indoors at private businesses or homes if all present have received the final dose of a COVID-19 vaccine at least fourteen days prior to the gathering.

Kentucky Agriculture Commissioner Ryan Quarles, who recently penned an op-ed arguing that the state should be fully reopened, blasted the governor on Thursday.

“Governor Andrew Beshear continues to ignore the bipartisan consensus emerging across the nation, in which far-left leaders like California’s Gavin Newsom, self-avowed socialists like New York Mayor Bill de Blasio, and strong conservatives like Florida’s Ron DeSantis have either set reopening dates for their states or have already fully reopened them," Quarles said in a statement. "Governor Beshear should have already lifted restrictions, or should have set a full reopening date at the very least. Nothing less than a 100 percent, full reopening is acceptable. We must send a clear signal of confidence towards our small businesses across the state by joining our neighbors and fully reopening Kentucky’s economy.”

The state counted 655 new COVID-19 cases on Thursday, including 54 in Northern Kentucky counties: 26 in Boone, 20 in Kenton, 5 in Campbell, and 3 in Grant. Pendleton Co. recorded no new cases on Thursday.

There were five COVID-related deaths statewide on Thursday, though none were local.

The state's positivity rate is 3.51%.

At least 1,842,521 people in Kentucky have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.

There are currently 408 people hospitalized across Kentucky, including 113 in intensive care units and 49 on ventilators.

-Staff report

Image shows the local county incidence rate, calculated by the average number of daily positive cases per 100,000 people over seven days

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