FRANKFORT, Ky. — Gov. Andy Beshear renewed his call for more Kentuckians to get vaccinated against COVID-19 while also announcing that venues, arenas and stadia that hold more than 1,000 people could move up to 50% capacity, effective Monday.
"We can get this thing done if people show up and get the vaccine," the Democrat said during his routine coronavirus update. "Vaccines have done incredible work."
Beshear announced a week ago that he would begin lifting pandemic-related capacity limits and curfew restrictions across the state once 2.5 million state residents had received their first dose of the vaccine, even as the recent plateau of cases has begun to creep back upward, mostly among people younger than 50 years old.
As of April 13, more than 1.6 million Kentuckians had received at least one dose of one of the three COVID-19 vaccines available.
Beshear called on business owners -- especially those who would benefit from capacity restrictions being relaxed or lifted -- to encourage or incentivize patrons to get vaccinated.
"I'm asking, begging, showing you the science, bringing you scientists," he said. "Hopefully also your doctors, ministers will talk about it."
Watch Beshear's full April 19 news conference here:
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 said Monday that, even when the state reaches 2.5 million, a face-mask mandate could still be in effect even as curfew and capacity restrictions begin to lift. For venues that hold more than 1,000 people, capacity restrictions would be examined, as well.
Beshear pointed to plummeting numbers of deaths in long-term care facilities since the vaccines became available in December as an indicator of their effectiveness. He also pointed out that most new cases are among Kentuckians between 16 and 49 years old, the population groups that have had the lowest vaccination rate so far.