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Beshear to attend his first Kentucky Derby as Governor; Pushes ahead on vaccination challenge

Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear points to desire by many for a more typical Kentucky Derby Festival as a reason to encourage vaccinations.

FRANKFORT, Ky. — For the first time since being elected, Governor Andy Beshar says he'll be at Churchill Downs on Kentucky Derby Day. He's pushing people to help him reach his goal so next year there'll be no pandemic restrictions.

“I will be at Derby in-person and I will hand out the trophy,” Gov. Beshear said. You could almost see his smile through the mask. Governor Beshear spent Monday morning unveiling other signs that some things are getting back to normal. Artwork created for the most Kentucky of traditions was celebrated. The Derby Festival Queen and her Court graced the closed Capitol event.

During his time at the podium, Governor Beshear made a call for help reaching his “Team Kentucky Vaccination Challenge” goal of 2,5 million Kentuckians vaccinated.

“This is the way we defeat this pandemic and get back to 100 percent capacity at the Kentucky Kerby and all of its festivities next year”, he said while touching on the plan he pitched last week.

The effort, he said, would mean easing restrictions on venues that welcome less than 1,000 people if two and a half million Kentuckians were vaccinated against COVID-19.

Some in the Kentucky Restaurant Association have criticized the move claiming it pushes the goalposts back from reopening. They want a set date and not a metric.

RELATED: Churchill Downs announces ticketing plan, preparations for 2021 Kentucky Derby

The Governor says he's not hearing criticism.

“What I heard from all of those businesses is, "thank you”, he explained. “That we see where we need to go and we have something that we can push. Any restaurant that wants to get there, or any business, make sure all of your employees are vaccinated. Call and talk to all of your patrons. Put it out on your Facebook. Make sure your friends and family, people at your church, are getting vaccinated. This should galvanize everyone else into being leaders.”

He thinks numbers will climb of those lining up for their shot and he's eying a particular demographic.

“We're already seeing a pretty good uptake among 16, 17 and 18-year-olds,” he said. “Where I think we're really going to need to focus more so is the 20-40-year-olds. They make up a large portion of the cases now. I think they make up almost half of the cases we've had to date and that is the group I think we need to provide the encouragement.

The governor insists that we've not reached a point where the only Kentuckians not vaccinated are simply against getting the vaccine. He thinks those in that 20-40 age group, casually interested, will be motivated by the challenge to take the shot.


RELATED: 'Snatched a number out of the air' | Rand Paul questions Beshear's COVID-19 vaccination goal

RELATED: 'Slightly manipulative': Lawmaker concerned by Beshear's 'Team Kentucky Vaccination Challenge'

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