Restaurant owner to Gov. Beshear: Punish rule breakers, not rule followers

Restaurant owner to Gov. Beshear: Punish rule breakers, not rule followers

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - A Louisville restaurant owner is among those crying foul over the new rules for restaurants. As of Tuesday at midnight, restaurants were cut back to their 25 percent indoor capacity.

The restaurant owner also questions why events like the Street Rod Nationals and the Kentucky Derby are allowed to host big crowds, while restaurants are being scaled back.

Fans enjoy the Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs. (Source: Dan Dry)
Fans enjoy the Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs. (Source: Dan Dry) (Source: Dan Dry/WAVE 3 News)

In May when restaurants were allowed to reopen in-person dining, restaurant owners said they were excited to hire back staff and ready to follow new guidelines.

“We spent a lot of money on masks and disinfectant and sanitizer,” Tea Station Asian Bistro owner Alan Jones said of his restaurant and all the Kentucky restaurants like his going by the new COVID-19 guidelines.

May 22, Jones had employees like Suzy Lancaster in a new uniform of gloves and face shields or masks. That day, Lancaster said she was relieved to be working again. Now, after Governor Andy Beshear’s rollback announcement that closes bars and limits restaurant indoor dining to 25 percent for at least two weeks, Jones said Lancaster was upset.

“She had tears in her eyes, she’s like, what am I going to do?” he said.

During his Monday press briefing, Beshear showed photos of some Lexington bars clearly violating social distancing orders. The governor said he had no choice, but to order a rollback.

“I hate this requirement for them,” Beshear said of restaurants and bars that didn’t violate orders, “they are certainly paying for actions of others.”

But Jones believes there is a choice: enforcement of rule breakers.

"You should shut them down," he said, "but we shouldn't all suffer."

He maintained, “One of the safest places, in my opinion, are restaurants. If you go to all these restaurants, everybody is doing what they are supposed to do.”

With a daughter who’s a nurse practitioner, Jones said he understands the seriousness of the virus. That’s exactly why he questions how many big events are still on schedule in the next several weeks.

“It doesn’t make sense why he only isolated us,” Jones said. “And I get the bars,” he said, noting some of the clear violations caught on camera, “but that’s a different category, and not Kentucky Kingdom or the Hot Rods.”

He said of the Street Rod Nationals, “Coming in next week, you know, he (Beshear) talks about don’t go to these eight states, but he’s going to be bringing those people into this state with the hot rods.” He continued, “How can you categorize us, as I guess, the bad guys, but yet these other things just keep going?”

If the 25 percent indoor capacity rule only lasts the two weeks, Jones said it’s doable, but fears more restaurants could close if it’s extended.

Restaurants, bars worry some won’t survive Beshear’s two-week restrictions

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