LEXINGTON, Ky. (WDKY) – Bar owners are feeling a little more optimistic this week after receiving some the news that, by the end of the month, they’ll be able to keep their doors open later, and serve customers longer.
Bluegrass Tavern owner Sean Ebbitt says he feels like he’s finally seeing the light at the end of this dark, COVID-created tunnel.
“It feels like it’s kind of coming to an end, as we’ll be allowed to operate our business like we expected to,” Ebbitt said.
Currently, bars have to stop serving at midnight, and everyone has to be out by 1 a.m.
“Customers still want to enjoy their night. They might not get out of dinner until later,” Ebbitt said. “So, it’s unfortunate they always have to leave early.”
But, starting May 28, the curfew on bars and restaurants will be lifted, and people will be able to fill seats at the Bluegrass Tavern until 2:30 a.m.
“It’s been a great test to see who can make it, and pivot and do all that,” Ebbitt said.
Opening in 1933, Chevy Chase Inn has been through its fair share of uncertain times.
“Been a lot of highs and a lot of lows,” said co-owner Kevin Heathcoat. “This bar’s seen a lot go on in this world. But this is the first pandemic we’ve had to survive.”
And for businesses that operate in the late hours, the early closures and limited capacities haven’t been great.
“To be able to stay open loner is really going to help us make up for so much lost time over the past year that we’ve suffered through,” Heathcoat said. “We’ve survived, we’ll continue to survive, and, hopefully, it’s the only pandemic we’ll ever have to go through.”
Also starting May 28, capacity limits will increase to 75 percent for gatherings and businesses with fewer than 1,000 people.
Bar seating will also be allowed again.