The end is nigh for the COVID-induced curfew on restaurants and bars in Kentucky.
Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear announced Monday that due to the state's robust vaccination rate and its decrease in COVID-19 cases, restaurants and bars can return to their normal hours on May 28, just in time for a potentially lucrative Memorial Day weekend. Bar seating for guests will also be permitted at that time.
The state's current orders stipulate that establishments must stop serving at midnight and must close their doors at 1 a.m.
During a previous address on Thursday, Beshear announced that by May 28, all indoor and outdoor events and establishments serving fewer than 1,000 people could begin operating at 75% capacity. Those with more than 1,000 people could go to 60% capacity.
Additionally, small groups of Kentuckians who are fully vaccinated may now gather without wearing masks, the governor said. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), a “fully vaccinated” person is one who is two weeks past their second dose of a two-dose vaccine (Pfizer and Moderna) or two weeks after a single-dose vaccine (Johnson & Johnson/Janssen).
Beshear repeatedly has promised a gradual lifting of state restrictions as COVID-19 decreases within the Commonwealth. He said Monday that 1,875,554 people have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine in Kentucky.
Beshear added that 852 out of 857 (99.42%) of all Kentuckians who died due to COVID-19 on or after Feb. 1, 2021, were unvaccinated.
"No matter where you are in the commonwealth, you could get vaccinated tomorrow with a very short drive," Beshear said. "We need people to keep getting vaccinated. It’s proven to be incredibly safe and effective."
All residents ages 16 and up are eligible for a COVID-19 vaccine. On Monday, the FDA approved the Pfizer vaccine for children ages 12-15; the CDC is reviewing the decision and will share its stance later this week.