LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - Some of the commonwealth’s bar and restaurant owners are worried their businesses won’t survive following Governor Andy Beshear’s order to shut down bars and limit restaurant capacity to 25% for two weeks. Beshear announced the order Monday as COVID-19 cases continue to rise in Kentucky.
“Since March 16, I’ve been stressed. I’ve been a different person,” Jason Brown, owner of Brownie’s “The Shed” Grille and Bar in Louisville told WAVE 3 News. Brown is referring to the governor’s first order for bars and restaurants to limit their services this year as the coronavirus began to spread.
Bars were allowed to reopen with special guidelines on July 6.
Brown said he has taken every precaution to keep his staff and customers safe during the pandemic, but since some businesses didn’t follow the state’s safety guidelines, all restaurants and bars have to suffer.
“I feel like restaurants and bars have gotten kind of the spotlight in all of this, and some have kind of ruined it for others I guess, in a way,” Brown said. “A lot of the restaurant friends that I have, have gone above and beyond to do everything in their power to keep the restaurants safe for their staff, but you see other restaurants that could care less and are running business as normal.”
These are sentiments Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer shares. He said in a news conference Tuesday that if everyone had followed safety guidelines and taken the virus seriously, these new orders wouldn’t be happening.
“It kills me for the folks who are doing it right, and now they’re shut down for two weeks because it’s hard to run a business in the best of times, much less right now. So come on everybody, let’s do our part,” Mayor Fischer said.
Since July, Louisville’s Health and Wellness received more than 400 complaints of businesses conducting unsafe practices. More than half of those complaints were about sit-down restaurants. Inspectors have issued 38 orders of guidance, which focus on education rather than fines or punishments.
The mayor and health officials commended Brownie’s for keeping staff and customers safe, which Brown said is his priority. However, he worries about other restaurant owners who may go out of business after the governor’s order ends in two weeks.
“Those that can get past this, those are going to be the legit restaurants. They survived the storm,” Brown said, “and just for mindset purposes, I think it’s going to prove you can do just about anything.”