Downtown Frankfort restaurants said Monday that the governor's new capacity restrictions on indoor dining might not be as bad for them as one might think.
Gov. Andy Beshear announced that he is ordering bars to be closed and restaurants to reduce capacity to 25% for the next two weeks. The actions came in response to a recent escalation of COVID-19 cases in Kentucky.
Mainstreet Diner co-owner Megan Farney said that prior capacity limitations didn’t hurt as much as expected because of the community support the restaurant received through pickups and deliveries.
“So we’re just crossing our fingers that everyone does it all again of having that local support,” she said.
Starting Tuesday all “freestanding bars” will be required to close and restaurants will be required to reduce their inside capacity from 50% to 25%.
Beshear added that bars that sell food will avoid the complete shutdown.
“The trend is undeniable,” he said. “We are in an escalation of cases where our positivity rate also continues to increase.”
The new orders will be in effect until Aug. 11. Restaurants’ outdoor seating will stay at 100% with social distancing enforced.
Ismael Valladares, owner of Mi Fiesta on St. Clair Street, said that he was relieved because he thought Beshear might order another total shutdown. He added that he doesn’t use his indoor seating much anyway, as most patrons prefer sitting outside.
Asked if the city’s closure of St. Clair Street to vehicular traffic on certain evenings to allow for more outdoor seating was advantageous to his business, Valladares said that it's been nice at certain times, but the closure of the street to cars has made it much harder to accommodate pickup orders.
However, it did allow him to offer live music, which is something he hadn’t been able to do recently.
April Wilhoite, manager of the Brick Alley on St. Clair Street, said “we were only at 50% anyway,” and that since the establishment serves food, it will be able to remain open, which is true for many local bars.