FRANKFORT, Ky. (LEX 18) — Kentuckians are set to kick off Memorial Day weekend Friday with the highly anticipated reduction of COVID-19 restrictions.
The reduction is highlighted by a lift in bar and restaurant curfews and increased capacity for businesses and venues. The commonwealth plans to officially strip all restrictions on June 11.
Gov. Andy Beshear's decision to begin the official transition back to normalcy came after an announcement earlier this month from the CDC regarding mask usage for fully vaccinated people.
The curfew in place since last summer mandated that businesses were forced to stop serving by 10 p.m. Last call was pushed back an hour in March, however, Friday will be the first time in nearly a year that business will be allowed to revert back to pre-pandemic hours. The ease in restriction will also allow for bar seating in all establishments.
Patrons are still asked to mask up if they are not vaccinated, but fully vaccinated people can ditch the mask as long as the business allows it.
Also beginning Friday, indoor and outdoor venues are able to accommodate 75% capacity. The University of Kentucky has also announced it expects a full stadium at Kroger Field for the 2021 football season.
Beshear said the two-week transition period from the eased restrictions into a fully open Kentucky is to allow extra time for children between the ages of 12 and 15 to get vaccinated.
The governor originally said he would open the state completely after 2.5 million Kentuckians were vaccinated. Kentucky only surpassed the 2 million mark this week, but Beshear said the unexpected announcement from the CDC to lift the mask mandate expedited his plan.
Although the mandate will effectively end on June 11, it will still be in place for public travel, health care settings, schools and some others. Businesses may still require patrons to wear a mask before entering.