LEXINGTON, Ky. (WDKY) – Folks can finally head out the door for drinks. Governor Andy Beshear’s mandate prohibiting indoor dining expired Monday, and restaurants can now seat customers at 50 percent capacity.
“It’s great. We’ve been waiting for this day and our team is grateful for the opportunity to reopen our dining room,” said Amber Cook, the marketing director at Bluegrass Hospitality Group.
Owners say the past three weeks haven’t been easy. They’ve relied on carry out to make ends meet, and some restaurants even set up big tents with heat to keep business flowing and out of the cold. But for some, the propane just wasn’t enough.
At Malone’s, the big tent is coming down. Several customers were sitting at tables today enjoying their meals indoors.
“Our team has been working daily to adjust processes and procedures,” Cook said.
Over at Joe Bologna’s, business was a little slower.
“I’m probably in more debt than I’ve ever been before. I can’t give you an exact number but we’ve trimmed back all we can,” owner Joe Bologna said.
The restaurant laid off some workers, and others quit. Joe Bologna says the place has been quiet since college students are gone and downtown employees are working from home. With the mandate lifted, he hopes more people will come in. He’s also a looking forward to the COVID-19 vaccine.
“The more people take it, I believe we’ll be back to normal,” Bologna said.
Restaurant owners say they are following safety protocols. Customers are required to wear a mask and some establishments are also checking their temperatures.