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Kentucky’s Supreme Court Relaxes Its COVID-19 Restrictions 


— July 15, 2021

The CDC also stresses that a person isn’t “fully vaccinated” until two weeks after receiving their final COVID-19 shot.


About one year after Kentucky announced its first stay-at-home orders, the state’s highest court unveiled updated health & safety guidelines. According to two recent administrative orders, Kentucky’s Supreme Court is open for in-person trials as of May 18, 2021.

Under Administrative Order 2021-16, many of the previous restrictions have been lifted. Anyone who is vaccinated or who tests negative for COVID-19 can enter KY’s Supreme Court to settle a case. This new order also eliminates the court’s face mask mandate. As long as employees or visitors are fully vaccinated and have no symptoms of COVID-19, wearing a face mask isn’t mandatory.

Kentucky’s Supreme Court also approved Administrative Order 2021-17, which eliminates the ban on in-person jury trials. Master commissioners in KY’s Supreme Court are also allowed to process judicial sales in person.

While these orders give employees more options, KY judges can require face coverings if they feel they are necessary. Also, these face mask exemptions are only intended for people who’ve received a COVID-19 vaccination. While the KY Supreme Court doesn’t require vaccination passports, it strongly encourages non-vaccinated people to wear face masks.

A woman wearing a face mask. Image via Pexels. Public domain.

Despite these relaxed COVID-19 policies, the KY Supreme Court will continue to offer virtual court proceedings. Court administrators still encourage employees with COVID-related symptoms to use remote technologies like Zoom.

In reference to these updated guidelines, KY’s Chief Justice John D. Minton Jr. said he was “grateful” to the Supreme Court’s staff for complying with the past year’s COVID restrictions. Mr. Minton also said he was hopeful these new laws could help the state’s justice system “[transition] back to normal operations.”

The Supreme Court’s updated health guidelines come about a month after KY Governor Andy Beshear relaxed the state’s face mask policies. As of April 27, Kentucky residents aren’t required to wear face coverings outdoors or at events with less than 1,000 people. If over 2.5 million Kentuckians get vaccinated, Gov. Beshear said he would ease these policies even further.

In mid-May, Kentucky’s State Government announced that over 50 percent of the state’s residents got at least one COVID-19 shot. As long as this trend continues, Kentucky lawmakers expect to eliminate their mask mandate by June 11, 2021.

At the national level, the CDC announced that vaccinated people don’t have to wear face coverings. Vaccinated patients also don’t have to maintain six feet of distance while in public. The only exceptions to this new rule include public transit vehicles, planes, and businesses with mask-only policies.

The CDC also stresses that a person isn’t “fully vaccinated” until two weeks after receiving their final COVID-19 shot. Before these two weeks are up, vaccinated patients should wear their face masks in public spaces.

If Kentuckians have questions about the state’s latest COVID policies or vaccines, they can call the state’s COVID-19 Task Force at (800) 722-5725. Kentucky’s Supreme Court also encourages employees and visitors to send health-related concerns to COVIDCourtConcerns@kycourts.net.

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