Fund to help Daviess Co. bars and restaurants approved

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OWENSBORO, Ky. (WEHT) – While restaurants across Kentucky apply for a part of the state’s relief fund, Daviess County officials will start offering their own fund soon.

Daviess County Commissioners unanimously approved starting a county bar and restaurant relief fund.

Orders keep coming at Country Ham Restaurant outside Owensboro, but not as much as before the most recent in-person dining restriction started.

“We were just starting to pull out it before, and then this happens,” said owner Janice Kennedy. She also says it’s been a struggle to stay open since the pandemic’s start and have tried to help other restaurants to keep them and others in the county open.

“We’re all trying to work together,” Kennedy said. “Catherine, who runs Catherine’s Cafe, we were going to do a catering job, but it was too many people. With COVID, you just can’t do that.”

A relief fund of up to $250,000 for restaurants and bars outside Owensboro city limits will be available. Money comes from the county’s economic development fund. Judge Executive Al Mattingly felt the county should help restaurants stay open during what’s usually a very busy time of year.

Daviess County Bar and Restaurant Relief Fund Eligibility Guidelines and Criteria (Courtesy of Daviess Co. Fiscal Court)

“Just being closed down for two weeks, two-and-a-half weeks, particularly over a holiday period, Thanksgiving holiday, it probably has more impact than another two-and-a-half period in any other time of the year,” he said.

It follows the start of Kentucky’s $40 million Food and Beverage Relief Fund, which started taking applications earlier this week. Dee Harper of Dee’s Diner in Owensboro says she worries state help may not come in time for those who apply through the state.

“I don’t know if we would get it in time,” she said. “With every other government thing, it’s taking forever to get it. Would we get it before we have to close permanently?”

Kennedy thinks the county fund can help as long as in-person dining restrictions don’t last too long.

“That would probably be the only thing that would save us. I just hate to see this go under,” Kennedy says.

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(This story was originally published on December 3, 2020) 

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