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Gov. Beshear sets June 11th as target date for return to 100% capacity at venues and to lift mask mandate

Updated: May. 14, 2021 at 10:35 AM EDT
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FRANKFORT, Ky. (WYMT) - Gov. Andy Beshear held a news conference in Frankfort on the latest updates on COVID-19 vaccinations, restrictions, and other related topics.

Near the top of the briefing, the governor announced a June 11th target date to return all events and venues back to 100% capacity and the statewide mask mandate will be lifted. Governor Beshear added there will be exceptions with the mask mandate for those who are part of the most vulnerable population.

“By the grace of God, the COVID-19 vaccine has been proven more effective at stopping death and serious illness than we ever could have expected,” Gov. Beshear said.

Officials say those who are not vaccinated are still at risk of exposure to the virus and should continue wearing masks.

Governor Beshear shared that the June 11th date was decided to allow those who want to get vaccinated a chance to receive their shot of hope.

“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 Gov. Beshear. “Team Kentucky: your patience, hard work and sacrifices have paid off. For those not vaccinated: you have still have time.”

As part of the new guidance from the CDC announced Thursday, those who are currently fully vaccinated are no longer required to wear a mask indoors or outdoors unless required by a business. Businesses will still have the option to still mandate masks inside their facilities.

Gov. Beshear had already said Kentucky will follow the new guidelines.

CDC updated mask guidance on Thursday, May 13, 2021.
CDC updated mask guidance on Thursday, May 13, 2021.(CDC)

“This is a pretty great day,” Gov. Beshear said. “Being this close to the end...I think back to the early projections, numbers we thought we would lose.”

Some in state government, however, are wondering what took the governor so long, especially Kentucky’s Republican legislative leaders. They have been pointing to the Kentucky Derby two weeks ago, with no follow-up outbreaks or flare-ups.

“I don’t understand why he’s waiting,” said Senate Majority Leader Damon Thayer. He said businesses are still hurting and will hurt more until June 11th arrives.

“They have been operating under limited capacity for over a year,” Sen. Thayer said. “They have a couple of shutdowns to deal with. They can’t find people to work.”

For others, it was an emotional day in Frankfort, including for Public Health Commissioner Dr. Steven Stack.

“Walking to the capital this morning it was the first time, I think all of us have seen each other’s faces without masks in a long time,” Dr. Stack said.

You can watch the news conference and our coverage below:

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