OWENSBORO, Ky. (WEHT) Today’s the first day some Owensboro restaurants could open up for more outdoor seating.
The city allowed more outdoor dining while indoor seating is restricted. Some restaurants are ready to move some tables outside. Others are waiting to reopen indoors.
The outdoor and indoor tables at Don Mario in downtown Owensboro were occupied again after being empty for two months.
“It was great to be able to sit outdoors and enjoy a great meal, enjoy the weather while it’s nice,” said Joshua McCarty, who ate at Don Mario this afternoon.
Owner Oralis Radilla says since they could only seat up to 18 people inside due to the state’s 33% capacity restriction, they got a permit to add more tables down second street to increase outdoor capacity.
“If we didn’t have the encroachment, honestly, we would only be able to have 4-6 tables outside. Then inside we would be very limited,” she said.
Earlier this month, city officials said because of limited indoor capacity, some restaurants would struggle to make a profit if outdoor dining wasn’t expanded. Permit fees to move outside were waived.
While some restaurants started their expanded outdoor seating and resumed in-person seating today, other places such as Moonlite Bar-B-Q in Owensboro are waiting to resume their in-person dining.
“We want to be better prepared and we want our customers to be comfortable also,” said Patrick Bosley of Moonlite. He plans to open its in-person area on June 1st. He wanted to give workers more time to train on new guidelines for restaurants and make sure they had enough protective equipment.
“We want to open steady, stream of business and we want to do it correctly. We just want the time, extra time,” Bosley explained. “It’s just an extra layer of safety.”
Bosley adds their buffet won’t reopen yet — but all items will be available on their menu service.
(This story was originally published on May 22, 2020)