Beshear: Capacity Restrictions to Lift on June 11
Restrictions on capacity in Kentucky will end on June 11, Governor Andy Beshear said Friday.
The news comes more than a year after the COVID-19 pandemic arrived in Kentucky forcing a series of societal restrictions such as the wearing of facial coverings and limits on the number of people permitted inside restaurants, stores, and venues.
Beshear said that the proven effectiveness of vaccinations and expanded vaccine eligibility to include 12- to 15-year-olds is allowing the commonwealth to safely and sustainably ease restrictions. With about 1.9 million Kentuckians vaccinated, the governor said everyone who is eligible should be able to get a dose of a safe and effective vaccine ahead of June 11.
“After a long, dark pandemic – more of our people have gotten their shot of hope, and we have steadily moved to lift the last remaining restrictions put in place to slow the spread of this dangerous virus and save lives,” said Beshear. “Team Kentucky: your patience, hard work and sacrifices have paid off. For those not vaccinated: you have still have time.”
On Thursday, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) stated that fully vaccinated people would no longer have to wear facial coverings in most situations, though they would still need to follow local rules and those established by businesses. Beshear said Thursday that the state would follow that new set of guidelines.
The governor said a review of COVID-19 data from the period when many Kentuckians were vaccinated in March and April proves the effectiveness of vaccines. Over the two months, total cases declined 18%, hospitalizations declined 19%, and deaths declined 48%.
Beshear said that despite the restrictions that he put into place last year, the state's economy has continued to grow.
Across March and April, the Kentucky Economic Development Finance Authority board approved more than $880 million in future investment creating over 1,900 Kentucky-resident, full-time jobs, he said. Year to date, businesses announced plans for 33 projects in Kentucky comprising nearly $1.5 billion in planned investment and the potential creation of more than 2,700 full-time jobs.
“We are already on pace to end the current fiscal year with over $1 billion in the rainy day fund – the most money ever in a rainy day fund in Kentucky. And we are set to receive more than $2.1 billion from the federal American Rescue Plan Act that will create more jobs, improve our schools and drinking water and expand broadband,” Beshear said. “Our economy is set for liftoff and Team Kentucky is on the way to being a leader in the post-COVID economy.”
The governor announced Friday that the state of emergency declared on March 6, 2020, when Kentucky recorded its first COVID-19 case, will remain in place for the time being, as will the federal emergency declaration. This is to ensure Kentucky continues to receive necessary federal funds that are only made available to states with a public health emergency in place, he said.