Like Ohio, Kentucky Lifts COVID Restrictions and Offers Vaccinated the Chance to Win $1 Million

As of Friday, only certain people will need to continue to mask up in the Commonwealth.

click to enlarge Newport's Bridgeview Box Park - Photo: Hailey Bollinger
Photo: Hailey Bollinger
Newport's Bridgeview Box Park

Following in the footsteps of neighboring Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine, Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear has lifted most COVID-19 restrictions for the state, including mask mandates and capacity limits for bars, restaurants and entertainment venues. 

As of Friday, the only people who need to continue to mask up in the Commonwealth (per an Executive Order and recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) are those:

  • riding public transportation;
  • in a health care setting;
  • or in a long-term care setting.

Masking is also recommended for those in a correctional facility or shelter, those who are immunocompromised and those experiencing symptoms or who have been diagnosed with COVID-19 in the last 10 days.

For much of the pandemic, Kentucky has had a mask mandate in place, requiring individuals to wear a facial covering when near others, as coronavirus is easily transmissible through respiratory droplets when someone talks, sneezes, coughs or exhales with force. The CDC continues to recommend that unvaccinated individuals wear masks.

“Today, we are lifting the final restrictions put in place to keep our people safe during this once-in-a-lifetime global pandemic,” Beshear said during his final regular COVID briefing. “COVID-19 remains deadly. Our war against it is not yet won. But after more than 15 months of struggle and sacrifice, we can also say this: While COVID-19 remains a threat, we are no longer in crisis.”

As of Sunday, more than 2.1 million people in Kentucky have gotten at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, and everyone ages 12 and older is eligible to receive it.

To increase those numbers, Kentucky has enacted a million dollar lottery system comparable to Ohio's Vax-A-Million program.

Kentucky residents ages 18 and older who have received at least one dose of the Pfizer or Moderna COVID-19 vaccine or the one-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine can sign up for one of three opportunities to win $1 million. Those ages 12-17 can sign up to try to win one of 15 full scholarships to any public Kentucky college, university or technical or trade school.

Nicknamed "Shot at a Million," registration is available at and winners will be announced July 2, July 39 and Aug. 27.

As of Friday, 349,780 residents have signed up for the million-dollar draw and 19,579 have signed up to try to win the scholarship.

Although Beshear has ended the COVID mandates, he is not declaring an end to Kentucky's state of emergency "because major programs, grants and executive orders that continue to help Kentuckians impacted by COVID-19 would be at risk if it weren’t still in place, including a $96 million grant from the Federal Emergency Management Agency for vaccine distribution and administration," reads a release.

Since the start of the pandemic, Kentucky has lost 7,147 residents to COVID. 

“Reading the ages and counties of the dead, almost daily, is the hardest thing I have ever done,” Beshear said. “We are in the process of developing a permanent monument that will replace that sea of flags on the Capitol lawn representing every Kentuckian lost to COVID-19, which I hope will inspire generations of future leaders to think about these Kentuckians, these families and the challenges of these times.”

Commissioner of the Kentucky Department for Public Health Dr. Steven Stack said that the state's weekly COVID case numbers have declined 93% since January, noting a similar decline in both weekly deaths and hospitalization rates. 

See Kentucky's daily COVID report at

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