LEXINGTON, Ky. (LEX 18) — Gov. Andy Beshear says he made the decision to require masks at all Kentucky schools and child care centers "to protect the people of the Commonwealth."
"[COVID-19] harms our children, pediatric hospitalizations are on the rise, our hospitals are getting overrun, [and] we're about to go through a really rough period," said Gov. Beshear in a one-on-one interview with LEX 18's Nancy Cox. "I care about our kids more than I care about my own popularity."
Gov. Beshear did not rule out the possibility of another statewide mask mandate but said it would only happen "if it's necessary."
"We have to keep our kids in school, we have to keep our economy open... we don't want to have to pull back capacity at all," said Gov. Beshear. "We have two tools to defeat this virus if we want to make that happen. We have vaccinations and masks, and we won't need a mask mandate if people go out there and get vaccinated."
Gov. Beshear also weighed in Attorney General Daniel Cameron's decision by filing a response to the Kentucky Supreme Court. Cameron argues the latest order disregards the laws passed by the General Assembly during the 2021 session and violates a Boone Circuit Court injunction.
"The Governor directly ignored the court and engaged in an unlawful exercise of power by issuing his executive order," Cameron said in a statement.
"If you want to wait for the Supreme Court to weigh in, what we're going to do is have children in quarantine, we're going to have hospitals are overrun, and we're not going to be able to stop the damage the delta variant is doing," Gov. Beshear said.