One of downtown Frankfort’s largest dining and drinking establishments has joined in a lawsuit against Gov. Andy Beshear’s executive orders on COVID-19 restaurant protocol.
Goodwood Brewing Co., a Louisville-based brewery that opened a Frankfort location on West Main Street in 2019, joined Georgetown's Trindy's restaurant and Louisville's Dundee Tavern in a lawsuit filed in Scott Circuit Court on Monday, according to WHAS-11.
Goodwood’s CEO, Jack Mitzlaff, told The State Journal that in 2020 his company saw a 75% decline in revenue. He said that the restrictions and the state's handling of communication has been "brutal."
The lawsuit says that the companies are seeking temporary and permanent injunctions against enforcement of "any and all 'administrative regulations or other directives issued’” by Beshear, who recently vetoed three bills passed by the legislature that would allow establishments to reopen and limit the governor’s executive powers during a state of emergency.
Beshear’s vetoes were overridden in the statehouse, but Franklin Circuit Court Judge Phillip Shepherd ordered a temporary injunction blocking the implementation of the three bills.
Pacific Legal Foundation, a conservative non-profit law firm, is representing the three businesses. In a press release, the firm called Beshear’s use of executive orders to combat COVID-19 “arbitrary” saying that they were unnecessarily hurting businesses.
“While the governor attempts to ignore the constitutional separation of powers, local business owners are paying the price, struggling to keep up with the ever–changing restrictions impacting their financial livelihoods,” the press release read. “Several local breweries and restaurants are now challenging the governor’s enforcement of COVID-related orders which under the new legislation have expired.”
The brewery also operates two other locations, one in Louisville and one in Lexington, and distributes its beer to breweries and stores across the region.
Mitzlaff emphasized that he did not consider the lawsuit political in nature or “anti-Beshear.”
“We're not going after Beshear,” Mitzlaff said. “I wish him nothing but success — it’s just that in this particular instance I believe he's wrong. I'm willing to make a stand and try to get the state to open similar to our border states Indiana and Tennessee.”
Mitzlaff said that his company also relies on the health of other businesses serving Goodwood's beer, so it has taken a financial hit in that way since most restaurants and pubs have seen revenues fall since the pandemic.
He added that the company’s Frankfort location, which has significant outdoor seating, has bounced back from the pandemic better than the Louisville pub. He said that he’s seen business cross state lines into Indiana due to their more lax restrictions.
Both Tennessee and Indiana have had more lax restrictions than Kentucky throughout the pandemic and have seen more deaths due to COVID-19, as well as cases of COVID-19, per capita.