FRANKFORT, Ky (WEHT) – After more than a year of distancing and mask wearing, life around the country is continuing to get back to normal.
Kentucky is now the latest in the nation to take the next big step. As of Friday, the Commonwealth’s mask mandate is no longer in effect.
Along with the end of the mask mandate, events and venues can return to 100 percent capacity.
Governor Andy Beshear had originally planned to lift the restrictions in May but wanted to allow time for younger age groups to get vaccinated.
With the end of the mask mandate and other restrictions, so comes the end to the Governor’s daily briefings. Beshear gave his last scheduled update on COVID-19 on Friday.
Nearly a year ago, Governor Beshear signed an executive order, requiring people to wear these masks in public places to stop the spread of COVID-19. That order was rescinded Friday, as the governor says we are no longer in crisis.
“After more than a year of being at war with this virus, we have the hard won knowledge of how to lessen the spread and now, to defeat the virus with safe and effective vaccines,” said Gov. Beshear.
The order signed Friday also lifts Kentucky’s Healthy at Work requirements, but masks will still be required on public transportation, health care and long term care facilities.
“I feel like it’s a healing process, that we’re starting to move forward as a community. I still feel like it’s everyone’s discretion,” said Nick Warren of Owensboro.
“I thought the masks were a good idea at the beginning, to help keep down infections and everything, but the numbers are going down, and people getting vaccinated and everything, I think it’s probably time,” added Amanda Carter of Owensboro.
More than 2.1 million Kentuckians have at least one vaccine dose, and the weekly number of cases dropped 93% since this past January. The lift also means businesses like The Creme Coffee House in Owensboro can operate at full capacity.
“I think that it will make a lot of people feel more comfortable getting out and going to restaurants, and businesses and coffee shops. With it opening up on Friday, we have Friday After 5, I’m expecting a big turnout,” said Brooklyn Patterson, owner of Creme Coffee House.
While masks are no longer required at nearly all businesses, some Kentuckians say they’ll keep their masks around as a precaution.