Kentucky restaurants resume in-person dining at limited capacity


OWENSBORO, Ky. (WEHT) – Kentucky diners returned to indoor tables in restaurants across the commonwealth. 

They’re now allowed up to 50% indoor capacity after three weeks of no indoor dining.

“It’s definitely been different, just to go from open to close to opening again to closing again,” said Molly Phillips, manager at Colby’s Fine Food and Spirits in Owensboro.

After three weeks of closures, indoor dining resumed at Kentucky restaurants.

“Couldn’t wait to get back,” said Dennis Boarman, who ate at Dee’s Diner on Monday. “It’s been good. I’m just glad to be here to tell you the truth.”

The limited return followed three weeks of carryout or outdoor dining, one of several restrictions Gov. Andy Beshear announced late last month as covid-19 cases continued increasing.

“I think, overall, we were able to ease back into the restrictions easier than before because we, kind of, knew what to expect,” Phillips said.

“We weren’t even doing a quarter of what we were doing back then when they shut us down, but I think people had more money, more employment, more stimulus,” said Dee Harper, owner of Dee’s Diner.

Relief funds for bars and restaurants were formed at the county and state level after the restrictions started. Daviess County officials say 15 restaurants applied for their relief fund — which is for restaurants outside Owensboro city limits. Checks were mailed to five of those last Friday. Harper says her application for a part of the state’s $40 million fund is processed, but has yet to receive money.

“It was like a weight lifted, knowing that at least, maybe half of that money I need this week is coming, something good finally happened this year,” she says.

Harper hopes business starts returning to normal as the vaccine starts being distributed.

“I hope that with the vaccines and the people taking COVID more serious, and doing what they’re supposed to be doing as far as distancing and masks, that we’ll all get through this,” says Harper.

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(This story was originally published on December 14, 2020) 

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