Gov. Beshear: Lawmakers’ comments during protest were “reckless”

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FRANKFORT, Ky. (WTVQ) – During his Sunday coronavirus briefing, Governor Andy Beshear responded to some Kentucky lawmakers who spoke out at a protest Saturday at the state capitol, telling people to take off their masks and that social distancing is optional.

“Originally, the Governor said it was going to be mandatory to wear a mask until there’s a vaccine,” said Representative Savannah Maddox, a Republican from Dry Ridge. “Now that should scare you!”

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Maddox also said she would not be forced to get a vaccine when it is created. Speeches, such as this, sparked a lot of conversation and some backlash. Beshear said it was “reckless.”

The protest brought out hundreds of people, most of who stood very close together and didn’t wear masks.

Beshear says it’s irresponsible for government leaders to use their platform in a way that will put public health at risk.

“You don’t think at least one of the people who might have been there, and encouraged to take off their mask and not socially distance, could pass it on,” Beshear asked.

During her Saturday speech, Maddox said hospitals are not full. She also talked about high unemployment, and those still not receiving benefits.

Protestors have consistently called on Beshear to re-open the state, despite the phased-in plan he’s laid out.

Tina Burnell protested Saturday; she says she’s glad that elected officials, like Maddox, are fighting for her and others.

“I’m very proud of the representatives that have come out here to speak to the people that they represent, and I’m also disappointed in those who haven’t,” Burnell said.

Beshear says protesting is okay, but doing so in an unsafe way during a pandemic can have deadly consequences.

“Do it in a way that won’t spread the virus,” Beshear said. “Remember, you may feel fine, but if you’re asymptomatic, you’re just hurting everybody around you.”