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Masks Again Required Inside Some KY State Buildings

Karyn Czar, WUKY

Kentucky state employees and visitors to state office buildings are again required to wear face coverings even if you are fully vaccinated. That announcement was included in a press release from Governor Andy Beshear’s office this afternoon. Officials from the Kentucky Personnel Cabinet announced mask new policies inside Executive Branch buildings, offices and in-state vehicles, where another employee is present. Employees can remove their face covering if they can safely practice social distancing.

Beshear released a video statement saying in part, "Listen, I didn't want to have to go back to this. Nobody wants to have to go back to this. But at the same time, we pledged to protect one another, to be there for the Commonwealth"

The returning masking regulations follow the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidance released Tuesday which includes wearing face coverings indoors even if you are fully vaccinated in areas of high COVID transmission. According to the CDC map, that would include much of Kentucky. The new guidance also recommends that all students K-12 wear masks indoors at schools regardless of vaccination status.

Some districts and private schools in the Commonwealth have already announced they will not require masks when students are back in the classrooms in a few weeks. Governor Andy Beshear said he hopes they look at the CDC’s newest guidance because “those schools claimed to have followed the CDC guidance up until now.”

Beshear believes any school that doesn’t at least implement mask requirements for anyone who is unvaccinated is risking the options for in-person learning because of quarantines.

“These kids want to be in class. They want to be able to do sports. They want to be able to do extracurricular activities. And the recommendation from the CDC is that we can do all of that and we can hopefully do it every single day but you’re going to need a mask,” Beshear added that “If you are unvaccinated you are much more likely to get and to spread this virus. In other words, you not wearing one could shut down an entire school and how fair is that to the kids that have done everything that we’ve asked?”

Beshear said if there are any guidance changes for schools he would announce them during his Team Kentucky press briefing at 12:30 p.m. on Thursday. As far as the legality of mandates, Beshear said he will “do whatever has to be done and I believe it is legal. The last Supreme Court decision talked about the emergency powers of the Governor, talked about them being constitutional in nature.”