Governor issues vaccination challenge – when 2.5M Kentuckians get shot, capacity limits removed

Published 3:54 pm Monday, April 12, 2021

Gov. Andy Beshear vowed Monday to lift capacity restrictions at most venues and businesses once 2.5 million Kentuckians have received at least their first COVID-19 shot, offering an incentive to accelerate the vaccination pace.

The Democratic governor’s announcement coincided with the opening of the state’s largest vaccination site at Cardinal Stadium in Louisville. The goal is to vaccine 200,000 people in the next seven weeks at the massive drive-through location in the state’s largest city, he said.

More than 1.5 million Kentuckians have received at least their first dose of COVID-19 vaccine, but Beshear has stressed recently that many vaccination sites have available openings.

He’s hoping the new the vaccination goal for ending capacity restrictions at most businesses and venues will offer an enticement to pick up the pace.

“When we have vaccinated 2.5 million Kentuckians, we will remove capacity restrictions for nearly all venues, events and businesses that cater to 1,000 or fewer patrons,” Beshear said.

That vaccination threshold could be reached as soon as 3½ weeks given current vaccine supplies, but “realistically” it’s probably going to take four to six weeks to achieve it, he said.

“But it is all up to us,” the governor said. “Every single individual’s choices can get us closer to that normalcy we’ve been looking for.”

Anyone 16 or older is eligible to be vaccinated in Kentucky. Beshear noted that reaching the vaccination threshold would lift capacity limits at cross-sections of businesses and venues.

“If you are a restaurant, a bar, a store, a public pool, a country club, a grocery, a funeral home, a wedding venue, a concert hall, a museum, if you put on festivals, if you are a distillery, this is what you’ve been waiting for,” he said. “A clear number and a clear goal to hit.”

Meeting his “vaccination challenge” also would result in removing physical distancing restrictions as well as curfew restrictions on bars and restaurants.