Kentucky to lift curfew on bars, restaurants in late May

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FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) — Kentucky’s coronavirus-related curfew on bars and restaurants will be lifted starting May 28, Gov. Andy Beshear said Monday in his latest move to relax restrictions on businesses.

Bar seating also will be allowed again on the same end-of-the-month date, the governor said.

“I want everybody to remember that we have been and we’re going to continue to be loosening these restrictions. But be reasonable,” Beshear said at a news conference.

“Look at your own facilities,” he added as a caution to the businesses. “Look at the ability for air to move in and out. Look at what your vaccination rates are in your county and what your incidence rates are and try to make good decisions.”

Last week, Beshear announced that Kentucky businesses and events with fewer than 1,000 people will be allowed to operate at 75% capacity, also starting May 28. That standard applies to indoor and outdoor gatherings. Also, any indoor and outdoor events drawing more than 1,000 people will be able to operate at 60% capacity, also effective May 28.

Capacity is currently limited to 60% at Bluegrass State events with fewer than 1,000 people and 50% at events or spaces with more than 1,000 people.

“We are not out of the woods, but we are in such a better place than in the late fall and early winter,” the Democratic governor said Monday of the state’s fight against the pandemic.

Beshear sounded upbeat last week about fully lifting virus-related capacity restrictions this summer, noting at the time that federal health officials are projecting a sharp decline in COVID-19 cases by July.

Meanwhile, more than 1.87 million Kentuckians have received at least their first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, including more than 80% of residents ages 65 and older, Beshear said Monday.

Vaccination rates drop off considerably in younger age groups. In the 18-29 age group, 28% are vaccinated, while 38% of Kentuckians ages 30-39 have received the shots.

Anyone 16 or older is eligible to receive the vaccine in Kentucky.

There are a multitude of openings for vaccinations, the governor said, who added: “This is our chance to be patriotic Americans, to protect those around us and to win this war.”

“No matter where you are in the commonwealth, if you want to get vaccinated tomorrow you can do so with a very short drive,” he said.

Since Feb. 1, 852 of the 857 Kentuckians who died as a result of COVID-19 were unvaccinated, the governor’s office said in a news release Monday.

“We need people to keep getting vaccinated,” Beshear said. “It’s proven to be incredibly safe. The vaccines have been incredibly effective.”

The governor reported 167 new coronavirus cases statewide Monday and 11 more virus-related deaths, two of which discovered through the state’s audit of deaths from previous months. Kentucky’s death toll from the coronavirus reached at least 6,597.

The statewide rate of positive cases was 3.25%.

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Find AP’s full coverage of the coronavirus pandemic at https://apnews.com/hub/coronavirus-pandemic.

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