COVINGTON, Ky. - The state of Kentucky’s ever-evolving response to COVID-19 had good news for eating and drinking establishments this week: As of Tuesday, bars could reopen and restaurants could return to 50 percent seating capacity.
In Covington - a city known for its unique, authentic and quirky establishments - leaders have an urgent plea: You can help our small businesses survive (and protect their employees’ jobs) by both supporting them and following the rules.
“We have a lot of very cool places in The Cov,” Economic Development Director Tom West said. “But they’re in a fight for their very survival. Fortunately, you can help them.”
“The rules” were spelled out by Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear on Tuesday when - in response to fluctuating case numbers of the highly contagious and sometimes fatal respiratory disease - he continued to adjust the state’s response to the pandemic to balance economic and health interests.
Among the rules in Gov. Beshear’s newest executive order:
- Both bars and restaurants can operate at 50% of indoor capacity.
- Customers must have a seat and stay seated except when entering or leaving or using the restroom.
- “Last call” for food and drinks is 10 p.m. and closing time is 11 p.m.
- Party sizes must be 10 or fewer.
- Face coverings (aka masks) must be worn except when seated.
“These are simple rules and relatively easy to comply with, and we need people to comply with them,” said Josh Rhodes, a former restaurant manager hired by the City to serve as a liaison with the industry during the pandemic. “We want to protect employees, and we don’t want to go backward with a spike in the number of cases and invite more restrictions.”
To help its restaurants create more “safe” capacity outdoors, the City has been working to create expanded dining on sidewalks, in alleys and parking lots, and in parking lanes along streets. To read about the second “round” of outdoor dining opportunities, see HERE
The City has also collaborated with the industry and local design firm BLDG Refuge to create the “#Recover Covington” campaign - or ReCov - to encourage a “safe” reopening of the economy. The campaign includes posters exhorting “No mask, No service” in the windows of restaurants and bars.
That campaign - and the message of support - applies to all of Covington’s valuable small businesses, West said.
“In addition to our restaurants, we have a lot of cool retail shops, and we strongly encourage support for them and their employees,” he said.
To help its small businesses, including bars and restaurants, the City is offering emergency rent and mortgage assistance of up to $500 a month.
The City set aside $200,000 for the program from its economic development fund and still has money left.
To see a previous news release on the program, see HERE
. To apply or learn the details of the program, click HERE
. Questions should be sent to Economic Development Project Manager Ross Patten at email@example.com
For a clickable list of Covington’s restaurants, see HERE
For more details on the state’s Healthy at Work requirements for bars and restaurants, see HERE
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