FRANKFORT, Ky. (KT) – Gov. Andy Beshear announced Thursday he will be lifting some of the restrictions on capacities at businesses and venues that were imposed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, starting on Memorial Day weekend.
During a press briefing, the governor said he was using that date because that is when the school year ends in Kentucky.
“Starting Friday, May 28, all events, indoors and outdoors, with under 1,000 people, which had been at 60%, can now be held at 75% capacity,” Beshear said. “That includes retail, hair salons, restaurants, movie theatres, and gyms. It also includes weddings, memorial services, all of those activities that will be under 1,000.”
He also announced that indoor and outdoor events with more than 1,000 people, will move from 50 to 60% of 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,” Beshear said. “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.”
The governor also clarified that small groups of individuals are no longer mandated to wear facial coverings indoors in private businesses or homes if all individuals there have received the final dose of a COVID-19 vaccine at least 14 days prior.
“We are at a better place than just about any other state can claim,” he said.
He noted that he is awaiting word from the federal government on when the Pfizer vaccine can be administered to those 12-15 years of age, which may happen next week. “Once that happens, we’ll be looking at a specific time period that will allow those individuals to get vaccinated. At the point that has occurred, hopefully a full easing of all capacity restrictions.”
There were 655 new cases of the coronavirus, 22% of which involved those 18 and younger, on Thursday. The overall total was 55 fewer than Wednesday, and the third consecutive day of declines.
Six counties had 20 or more cases: Jefferson 127, Fayette 52, Boone 26, Daviess 23, Warren 21, and Kenton 20. There have now been 447,582 positive cases during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Five deaths were reported by local health departments, with one more from the ongoing audit of death certificates from last fall and winter. 6,548 Kentuckians have now died from COVID-19.
The positivity rate was 3.51%, based on a seven-day rolling average, which was down from 3.57% on Wednesday, and ended a seven-day streak of increases.
A total of 408 Kentuckians were hospitalized on Thursday. Of them, 113 were in the ICU and 49 on a ventilator. All three numbers were close to Wednesday.
To see Kentucky’s full daily COVID-19 report, go to kycovid19.ky.gov.
Gov. Beshear’s next press briefing is Monday, although his office will report daily numbers during the weekend.