FRANKFORT, Ky. (LEX 18) — After 14 months of living in a pandemic, Kentucky has an opening date set for June 11.
"In just one month from today, life will almost be fully back to normal," said Gov. Andy Beshear on Friday.
That's the day Kentucky's businesses can return to 100% capacity and the mask mandate expires for everyone. Currently, the CDC guidelines allow fully vaccinated people to go mask-less in many places but those who haven't gotten their shot are being asked to wait.
June 11 is the moment many have been hoping for, but some think it should've happened already.
"Frankly, I think it should've been a couple of weeks ago," said Senate Majority Leader Damon Thayer.
Thayer and other republican leaders have been pressing Beshear to open Kentucky for weeks now.
"I think the numbers show that we could've opened safely a couple of weeks ago," said Thayer. "I don't know why the magic number is June 11th, but he's the governor. He gets to make those decisions when the legislature is not in session."
Gov. Beshear says the month-long delay is to give 12- to 15-year-olds a chance to get vaccinated. The Pfizer vaccine just became available to that age group last week, so the governor says the state needs to give them time to get the shot.
"One month gives our 12 to 15-year-olds the necessary time to get vaccinated," said Beshear.
But some, like the Republican Party of Kentucky, think that's waiting too long.
"Another month," said a tweet responding to the governor's June 11th announcement. "That's how much longer Andy Beshear is going to hold Kentucky hostage."
Another month. That's how much longer @AndyBeshearKY is going to hold KY hostage.— Republican Party of Kentucky (@KYGOP) May 14, 2021
Andy has decided to ignore the science & deny small businesses and families the chance to FINALLY get back to normal by making us one of the last states to open up. #KYGov https://t.co/Z8jD7tqdLQ
Senator Thayer agrees that it's taking too long, but he's happy to know there's an end date.
"I'm glad and relieved that we do have a date certain, but states around us are opening up. States around the country are opening up," said Thayer. "And I just don't really agree with his reasoning for waiting until June 11th. But on the flip side of that, it is a sign that we are getting back to normal."