FRANKFORT, Ky. — Events and businesses hosting less than 1,000 people can return to 75% capacity starting May 28, Gov. Andy Beshear announced Thursday.

What You Need To Know

  • Gov. Beshear said capacity restrictions will be significantly eased starting Memorial Day weekend

  • Events and businesses with less than 1,000 people can return to 75% capacity, with 60% capacity for larger events

  • The mask mandate will also be removed for small groups of fully-vaccinated people gathering indoors 

  • Kentucky's vaccination rate has stalled, but Pfizer's shot is expected to be approved for use in people aged 12-15 next week

The change comes just in time for Memorial Day weekend. For events with more than 1,000 people, Beshear said 60% capacity will be the new max.

At a media briefing Thursday afternoon, the governor also said the mask mandate will be lifted for small groups of fully-vaccinated people gathering indoors.

While he didn't give a firm date on when Kentucky would completely ease capacity restrictions, he said his "hope" is that point will be reached in July.

“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.”

He spoke with optimism about the coming weeks, citing reports that Pfizer may seek approval to give its vaccine to those aged 12-15 next week. He said if that goes smoothly in Kentucky, it could factor into a sooner full easing of restrictions.

Ryan Quarles, Kentucky's commissioner of agriculture, criticized Beshear for not setting an official reopening date.

"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," Quarles said. "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."

Kentucky reported 655 new COVID-19 infections, 5 new deaths and a positivity rate of 3.51% on Thursday.


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