LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - As new COVID-19 restrictions have Kentucky restaurants limiting how many people they can serve, an old proposal is attracting some business owners trying to survive in the Highlands neighborhood.
If their open sign is still blinking, it's likely mask requirements and other pandemic precautions are posted right next to it.
"We thought, in the spring, we're going to ramp up, open up the throttle and see what this space can do," Adam Watson, co-owner of Public House by Against the Grain, said. "A global pandemic kind of put the dampers on that. We're still doing okay, we're making it here, but we absolutely could be doing better."
The Bardstown Road location opened in November. Now, it's back down to 25 percent indoor capacity. Outside seating is allowed, but tough for Bardstown Road businesses without parking lots or large patios. The solution some are looking for can be seen in the reflections on their storefronts.
"Everybody is literally chomping at the bit to get these outdoor dining spaces open," Shawn Reilly, a business owner and former Metro Council candidate, said. "Especially now, that we're seeing a resurgence of the coronavirus, upticks here in the state and in the city."
Reilly said the plan to block off parking spaces and allow restaurants to set up on Bardstown Road is gaining momentum. He first proposed the idea last spring.
A spokesperson representing Louisville Forward said it's looking into how it would all work. The agency said applications for that type of seating are not open at the moment as it considers how to gauge traffic and safety concerns. Places like Against the Grain are hopeful the expanded seating will soon be a reality.
"We can probably fit about 12 people out there, which doesn't sound like a whole lot, but honestly is about the amount we seat inside on any given day," Watson said. "So, it would pretty significantly expand by percentage, the amount of space that we have."
Reilly said struggling businesses could really use the help.
“If we can save one or two businesses from going bankrupt, I think this would be a real success for the city,” he said.