FRANKFORT, Ky. — For the past few weeks, Gov. Andy Beshear has been telling Kentuckians we are nearing the end of the pandemic.
On Monday, he painted a clearer picture about how soon things could begin looking more like normal.
Beshear said that once Kentucky reaches 2.5 million vaccinations, he would end capacity restrictions for public venues that hold fewer than 1,000 people. That means nearly all bars and restaurants and many other facilities such as music venues and retail stores could begin operating at full capacity for the first time in more than a year.
And with more than 1.5 million Kentuckians already vaccinated, that means there are fewer than 1 million to go, and that could be accomplished within just a few weeks, although that will require everyone to do their part.
“This ought to be exciting,” Beshear said. “Now, the question is, how quickly can we get there. With the supply we currently have plus what we’re getting in each week, we could get there as quickly as three-and-a-half weeks from now. That’s probably not very realistic, but we should, if we are intentional, get there in 4-to-6 weeks. Four weeks would take all of you calling and signing up for every single opening that’s out there.
“And it’s probably going to take a lot of our businesses that really need to see this to provide incentives. If you’re going to come into a place and get vaccinated, do they provide you with $5 or $10 worth of free groceries? Will our restaurants make sure that all of their wait staff and others get vaccinated, and push all of their customers to do it too? And maybe what could they offer to folks? We have to try everything.”
Looking at the latest coronavirus numbers, Kentucky saw 270 new cases reported on Monday, bringing the total to more than 433,000.
Seven more Kentuckians have died, raising the death toll to 6,257.
There are currently 380 people hospitalized with COVID-19, including 104 in intensive care and 54 on ventilators.
The state’s positivity rate is now 3.16 percent.