Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear (D) wished officials who were considering defying a recent statewide mask mandate in schools “good luck,” and vowed that the state would hold them accountable.
“When someone gets hurt, and they will, if you’re refusing to do the right thing, good luck,” Beshear said Thursday, according to The Associated Press. “I think you’ll be held accountable.”
On Tuesday, Beshear issued an executive order requiring that all staff, students and guests in child care centers, preschools and K-12 schools had to wear facial coverings inside, regardless of vaccination status. The state’s Board of Education approved the mandate on Thursday.
In his executive order, he pointed to a high hospitalization rate and a surge of COVID-19 cases as well as masking guidance issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in late July as justification for the mandate.
The executive order stated that on Friday, the Kentucky reported 2,612 new COVID-19 cases and 976 hospitalizations. By comparison, on July 6, the state had reported 87 new COVID-19 cases and 198 hospitalizations.
Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron (R) has come out against mask mandates, but Beshear suggested that people do not realize the gravity of COVID-19 in Kentucky and elsewhere, the wire service reported.
“Those that are criticizing, none of them talk about how serious the virus is,” Beshear said. “None of them are talking about how serious the delta variant is. None of them are talking about hospitalizations, and none of them, when they get a microphone, are saying ’please … get vaccinated.’ That means they’re sowing at least misinformation or confusion.”
He claimed that if Cameron waged a successful challenge to the mask mandate, the state would have “a statewide chicken pox party.”
Several Republican governors have already vocalized their opposition and enacted stringent bans on both mask and vaccine requirements in schools. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantisRon DeSantisAtlanta-area elementary students move to virtual learning after COVID-19 outbreak Psaki takes aim at DeSantis over Florida ventilator request The Hill’s 12:30 Report – Presented by Facebook – Senate Democrats pass .5T budget resolution MORE (R), Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) and Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt (R) have issued bans on mask mandates.
DeSantis has said that he believes parents, not school districts, should make the decision about whether students wear masks inside the classroom.