Echo News Update

FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) — Kentucky will reopen its prisons to visitors starting next month as the COVID-19 vaccination rate has risen among inmates, Gov. Andy Beshear said.

Visitations will resume the week of June 20 at Department of Corrections and Juvenile Justice facilities, the governor announced Tuesday.

More than 75% of adult inmates in state custody have been vaccinated, he said. The state halted in-person visits more than a year ago in response to the pandemic.

Visitors must be vaccinated and will be expected to wear a mask and practice social distancing, the governor said. Each inmate will be allowed two visitors at a time.

"Remember, this is a setting where if there is a COVID outbreak we have seen that it can be devastating, how quickly it can be spread," Beshear said.

Several virus outbreaks were reported at Kentucky prisons and jails during the pandemic.

The new visitation guidelines don't apply to county jails.

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