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Ky. officials issue mask policy for some government buildings

Published: Jul. 28, 2021 at 3:10 PM EDT
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FRANKFORT, Ky. (WKYT) - State workers and visitors to some of Kentucky’s government offices are being told to mask up once again.

The policy change includes people who got the COVID-19 vaccine. The order came from the Kentucky Personnel Cabinet Wednesday afternoon.

It specifies Executive Branch buildings, which includes the State Capitol, and even says visitors will be asked to leave if they don’t follow it.

“So starting tomorrow, we are going to have to mask up again. That’s a requirement that all of our state employees, while indoors while around others at work, wear a mask to protect themselves. And those they interact with,” Gov. Andy Beshear said.

Auditor Mike Harmon believes it sends the wrong message. Harmon, who says he’s running against Beshear in 2023, says the mask requirement makes the vaccine look less effective.

“I think if you tell even people who have had the vaccine, that you’re still going to have to wear a mask, well, then the people who haven’t had the vaccine, ‘see I told you, there’s no need because we are going to have to do the same thing we have always been told,’” Audior Harmon said.

The order says visitors to these buildings will be asked to mask up, and if they don’t, it says they won’t be allowed in. And it also says employees that don’t comply could be removed and face disciplinary action.

Beshear says that’s to protect all citizens and to make sure there’s not a cluster that shuts down essential services.

“Listen, I didn’t want to have to go back to this. No one wants to go back to this. But at the same time we pledged to protect one another. To be there for the people of our commonwealth. As the CEO for this state, I want to set the example for other employers out there,” Gov. Beshear said.

“There’s got to be incentives for people to get the vaccine. And if you’re going to say, ‘nothing is going to change,’ then why in the world should I get the vaccine?” Harmon said.

The policy does say if employees can separate themselves or work alone, they can take the masks off.

The Kentucky Personnel Cabinet secretary says state employees and contractors will be provided two cloth face masks upon request.

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