“Expected” news still hard to hear for restaurant owners facing shutdown

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LEXINGTON, Ky. (WDKY) – Starting this Friday at 5 p.m., restaurants and bars will be forced to close indoor dining.

Gov. Andy Beshear limited service to deliveries, to-go orders and outdoor dining for three weeks. He said studies have proven that COVID-19 is widely spread in businesses where people are eating and drinking without masks on.

“The pandemic was in our business plan. We sat around hoping and dreaming and next thing you know, this is what was happening,” Bazaar Eater co-owner Seneca Holden said.

Owners Holden and Justin Whittingham says they’re used to being flexible.

“As things have changed, we pivoted each time opening up the dining room, now we do carry out, dine in service and door dash,” Whittingham said.

But the announcement of an extreme cut to their business is tough to swallow.

“We’re hoping for the best. I think it’s good they put out a branch for the local businesses. Something that we were hoping for earlier and we’re definitely glad for now,” Holden said.

A $40 million branch– businesses like Bazaar Eatery can get up to $10,000 of aid.

“That’s great to see that they’re targeting local businesses. That’s kind of what most of our community is worried about, is losing your favorite spots to the pandemic,” Whittingham said.

They said this money could go toward helping employees who are out of work.

“Being a server and a bartender, we’ve both been in the service industry for a while, it’s hard to connect with someone behind a mask. And we know that’s needed but the same experience and connection isn’t always there,” Whittingham said.

The co-owners say it’s frustrating to see other businesses not following protocol.

“Driving by places you can see in and you’re amazed, the people who just don’t care. Who are just running around, totally grouped up, and you’ve got to remember, this doesn’t just impact you, you may be safe, but the next person may not be,” Holden said.

They say they understand Gov. Beshear’s recommendations, but are looking forward to the time when they don’t have to worry about another shutdown.

“I think it’s hard to get your patrons to feel comfortable when they know that’s kind of looming,” Whittingham said.

Both owners say local businesses like theirs need your help more than ever.

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