KENTUCKY — Kentuckians fully vaccinated against COVID-19 can finally take off their masks after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) eased its indoor mask restrictions. Gov. Andy Beshear said the state's mask mandate will "immediately" reflect the CDC's new guidance.

What You Need To Know

  • Fully vaccinated Kentuckians no longer have to wear a mask in most indoor settings

  • The update to Kentucky's mask mandate comes after the CDC eased indoor mask restrictions for those fully vaccinated against COVID-19

  • Gov. Beshear said the state will immediately follow the new guidance

  • The CDC also no longer recommends that fully vaccinated people wear masks outdoors in crowds

"Today's guidance from the CDC is great news for vaccinated Kentuckians," Beshear wrote on Twitter. "The commonwealth will immediately follow this guidance."

The guidance allows fully vaccinated Americans to stop wearing masks indoors at most places. An individual is considered fully vaccinated against the virus two weeks after receiving the second dose of either the Moderna or Pfizer vaccine, or two weeks after the single-dose shot from Johnson & Johnson.

The new guidance still calls for wearing masks in crowded indoor settings like buses, planes, hospitals, prisons and homeless shelters, but eases restrictions for reopening workplaces and schools. The guidance is not intended for health care settings.

The CDC also no longer recommends that fully vaccinated people wear masks outdoors in crowds.

“Anyone who is fully vaccinated can participate in indoor and outdoor activities, large or small, without wearing a mask or physical distancing,” CDC director Rochelle Walensky said during a briefing on Thursday. “If you are fully vaccinated, you can start doing the things that you had stopped doing because of the pandemic.” 

“We have all longed for this moment, when we can get back to some sense of normalcy,” Dr. Walensky continued, adding: “That moment has come for those who are fully vaccinated.”

Kentucky House Speaker David Osborne said the CDC's new guidance shows that it's time for the state's mask mandate to be retired.

"Today’s announcement by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is just further evidence that we are well past the time for this mandate to expire and our state to go even further in eliminating capacity restrictions," Osborne said in a statement to Spectrum News 1. "The legislature recognized this when we chose not to extend these mandates as part of COVID-relief legislation passed during the 2021 Session, but the Governor chose to challenge the measure in court."

Osborne noted that neighboring states have done away with mandates and restrictions. He also cited the lack of a spike in cases following the Kentucky Derby.

"Our Commonwealth hosted one of the largest sporting events in the nation with no related spike in cases, but we still continue to hear that these mandates are necessary," he said. "The CDC speaks clearly to the need to rely on local, more targeted approaches and guidance, as well as the fact that individuals are prepared to make the decisions necessary to protect themselves."

The new guidance will impact the nearly 117 million Americans who are fully vaccinated against the virus, according to CDC data. Officials hope the chance for a return to a more normal life will inspire at least some vaccine-hesitant people to get their jab.


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