LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Starting Tuesday, Kentuckians will no longer be required to wear masks while attending outdoor events with less than 1,000 people, Gov. Andy Beshear said.
Masks, which help slow the spread of COVID-19, will continue to be required inside public facilities and at events with more than 1,000 people — like at Churchill Downs during the Kentucky Oaks and Derby this weekend. But the governor said enough people across the commonwealth have been vaccinated against the virus to lift the mandate for smaller events like backyard barbecues, outdoor weddings and youth sporting events.
"Where we are now is especially those that are vaccinated are really safe outside as long as the group isn't over 1,000 people and creates that extra density," Beshear said Monday during a briefing from the state Capitol. "We hope that this is a relief."
The governor encouraged those who have not been vaccinated against the coronavirus to continue wearing masks when they are at outdoor events where people are less than 6 feet apart from one another.
"Actually, we recommend you get vaccinated," Beshear said. "But that will be a decision for your own safety in that outdoor environment."
As of Monday, 1,726,346 Kentuckians had received at least the first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, according to the state's online dashboard. The governor said the state was 733,654 vaccinations away from reaching 2.5 million, at which point capacity, curfew and distancing guidelines will go away for most venues, businesses, restaurants and bars that cater to 1,000 or fewer patrons.
Beshear on Monday acknowledge that the state's vaccination pace is "slowing" and called on younger Kentuckians to roll up their sleeves for the shot. According to data the governor shared Monday:
- 75% of Kentuckians age 70 and older have been vaccinated
- 65% of Kentuckians ages 60-69 have been vaccinated
- 48% of Kentuckians ages 50-59% have been vaccinated
- 39% of Kentuckians ages 40-49 have been vaccinated
- 34% of Kentuckians ages 30-39 have been vaccinated
- 25% of Kentuckians ages 20-29 have been vaccinated
- 17% of Kentuckians ages 16-19 have been vaccinated
Anyone age 16 and older is now eligible to sign up for a vaccination appointment. For more information on where you can get vaccinated, click here.
"Right now, no matter where you are in Kentucky, you can get an appointment tomorrow," Beshear said. "Please sign up and get your vaccine."
Health officials on Monday confirmed 213 new COVID-19 cases in Kentucky and 11 more deaths in which the virus was a contributing factor, according to a report from Kentucky Public Health. Of those deaths, seven were tied to the state's ongoing audit of death certificates.
The coronavirus has been a contributing factor in the deaths of at least 6,459 Kentuckians.
Kentucky's positivity rate, which measures the proportion of COVID-19 tests returning positive, decreased slightly from 3.18% on Sunday to 3.15% on Monday.
Data show 414 Kentuckians currently hospitalized with COVID-19 and 108 patients being treated in intensive care units. More than 40 coronavirus patients were on ventilators.
For most people, COVID-19 causes mild or moderate symptoms that clear up within weeks. The vast majority of people recover. Of the state's 333,792 confirmed cases reported since March 2020, at least 51,138 have recovered, according to Kentucky Public Health.
To find a COVID-19 testing location near you, click here.
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