‘Too much to overcome’: Beshear orders Ky. bars, restaurants to close indoor service

Beshear limits bars, restaurants to outdoor seating only, restricts private gatherings, postpones all sports

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - Kentucky bars and restaurants will be forced to close their doors for a second time amid the pandemic. Gov. Andy Beshear (D-Ky.) announced a sweeping set of new restrictions on Wednesday; among them was a prohibition on indoor dining.

Beshear explained that bars and restaurants should close indoor dining spaces and only continue outdoor, delivery and to-go service. The restriction runs from 5 p.m. Nov. 20 to Dec. 13 at midnight.

“The CDC, Johns Hopkins, Stanford University and all others have all released recent studies showing that restaurants and bars are clearly spreading if not the greatest spread of COVID-19,” Beshear said.

Kentucky bar and restaurants were previously ordered to close indoor dining in March; such limitations were later lifted in lieu of reduced capacity. Owners in Louisville have mixed feelings about the latest round of restrictions.

Michael Wickliffe owner of Wick’s Pizza is supportive of the new restrictions but tells WAVE 3 that adapting will mean less work for staff.

“I feel sad for all my employees, I mean, I hope that Wick’s can get through it but I feel bad for my employees that won’t be making any money right now,” he said.

Some restaurant owners on social media were critical of Beshear’s actions.

On Facebook, Jason Brown owner of Brownies the Shed said the new restrictions “will be a knockout punch for many who have stuck around until the last round.”

Fernando Martinez owner of La Bodeguita De Mima said restaurants owners could “join [him] on a lawsuit.”

Kelly Ledford owner of Uptown Café in the Highlands said she understands the new restrictions but her business will close before they run their course.

“It’s just no longer financially feasible for us anymore. This pandemic has just been too much for us to overcome,” she said.

On Facebook Monday she announced Uptown Café would be closing after 35 years.

Thank you Louisville ❤️🥺❤️

Posted by Uptown Cafe on Tuesday, November 17, 2020

“I think our state and local officials have tried to do the best they could for all of us on all of our behalf,” she said. “I think things might have been different had we handled things just a little differently. I’m going to be the first of many if there’s not another [federal] stimulus package to help us.”

Beshear on Wednesday also announced a $40 million fund to provide some relief to struggling bars and restaurants. Eligible businesses will receive $10,000 to cover various costs.

The governor said bars and restaurants that don’t comply with the new restrictions could have “issues” with business licenses and they would not qualify for state assistance. He said he will work with counties to enforce compliance.

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