FRANKFORT, Ky. — Gov. Andy Beshear has pledged to lift some capacity restrictions for most venues and businesses once 2.5 million Kentuckians have received at least their first COVID-19 shot.
If Kentucky meets that goal, capacity limits for venues and events up to 1,000 attendants would be lifted, and the curfew for restaurants and businesses would end. Masking and social distancing requirements would still be in effect.
So far, Kentucky has vaccinated more than 1.5 million individuals against COVID-19, and all Kentuckians 16 and older are now eligible to receive their shot. Beshear said it could take roughly four to six weeks to reach the vaccination goal.
"Four weeks would take all of you calling and signing up for every single opening that's out there," the governor said during his Monday afternoon press conference.
Since March 1, businesses have been limited to 60% indoor capacity, and they are still required to enforce the state's mask mandate and social distancing measures. Bars and restaurants must also observe last call at midnight and close by 1 a.m.
Beshear and Public Health Commissioner Dr. Steven Stack also hope businesses will help encourage members of the community to get vaccinated so restrictions can be loosened and Kentucky can get back to "normal" this summer and fall.
Kentucky continues to monitor coronavirus "variants of concern," which health officials believe are able to spread faster. Kentucky has identified 111 cases of the B117 variant statewide, including 20 cases in Kenton County, 10 in Boone County and eight in Campbell County as of Thursday.
Kentucky continues to see a plateau in new COVID-19 cases, with cases declined slightly this week. The state's test positivity rate has risen slightly to 3.16%, the highest rate seen in the last month.
Beshear reported 270 new cases of COVID-19 Monday, as well as seven previously unreported deaths. They included a 56-year-old man from Boone County and a 76-year-old man from Kenton County who both died in February.
Active cases are declining in Kentucky prisons, according to Justice Cabinet Sec. J. Michael Brown. About 68% of the 6,600 people inside prisons have been vaccinated, as well as 50% of staff.
Since March 2020, 433,352 Kentuckians have tested positive for COVID-19 and 6,257 have died of the virus. Currently, 380 Kentuckians are hospitalized for COVID-19, with 104 people in intensive care units and 54 on ventilators.
NKY Health reports 495 active coronavirus cases in Boone, Campbell, Grant and Kenton counties, and 40,345 people have recovered from the virus Monday. Since the pandemic began, 423 Northern Kentuckians have died from the virus. Track the spread on Kentucky's COVID-19 incidence rate map.
Watch a replay of the briefing below: