Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear will require all workers and visitors, vaccinated or not, to wear masks inside state buildings starting Thursday morning.
“Listen,” the governor said in a Wednesday afternoon announcement. “I didn’t want to have to go back to this.”
But the rising numbers of COVID-19 cases in the commonwealth and new guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which now recommends indoor mask-wearing even for some vaccinated people, prompted him to reintroduce the mask requirement.
The highly contagious delta variant, which can be contracted and spread even by people who have completed their COVID-19 vaccination, makes up about 80% of COVID cases in the United States.
And Kentucky’s mask rule “is to protect each and every one of you and make sure we don’t have a cluster outbreak that shuts down different essential services that we provide here in the commonwealth,” Beshear said.
“Nobody wants to have to go back to this,” he added. “But at the same time, we pledge to protect one another, to be there for the people of our commonwealth, and as the CEO of this state, I want to set the right example for other employers out there — to make sure they protect their people.”
The number of new COVID-19 cases in Beshear’s state has risen from June totals of a few hundred a day to 1,224 on Tuesday.
The nationwide case graph looks the same: New cases plateaued in June and began to climb again in July.
“We hope this is temporary,” Beshear said. “I truly believe it is. But let’s come in tomorrow doing the right thing for each other and for this state.”