LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- The governors of Kentucky and Indiana ordered their states' bars and restaurants to close in-person dining and drinking on Monday, the latest step meant to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus.
Speaking in Frankfort, Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear said the move will exempt carry-out orders, deliveries and drive-through service, with more details to come when he files an executive order.
"We are asking so many people to make sacrifices from the school system and others, this is a step that we have to take," Beshear said.
The governor said he realized the impact that the decision would have on those establishments, most of which are small businesses whose owners have invested time and perhaps even their life savings.
"We're going to be there for you. I want you to know that I realize the impact that it's going to have," he said. "But we have to take the steps to make sure we are protecting our people -- and this is a necessary one."
The move caught the Kentucky Restaurant Association off guard, president and CEO Stacy Roof said.
Roof said her organization had discussions Sunday with the Beshear administration and had "no understanding that he was going to this today."
She said Beshear indicated Sunday that he wanted Kentucky establishments to police themselves.
"Of course, things have changed pretty much every hour for the past three or four days, so I should have known," Roof said. "But I was surprised that he made that determination so quickly after making that statement yesterday."
Roof said she has fielded calls from concerned restaurant owners all morning who want more details about the order's practical effect: Can people still dine outside on large properties? How does it affect catering? What about restaurants in hotels?
"They're just confused and stressed," she said.
She also said her members don't have any clarity on how long the shutdown might last.
"We don't know what we're planning for. Are we talking three weeks? I don't think the governor's remarks referenced an end date."
The owners of The Hub, a bar and restaurant on Frankfort Avenue, decided to close on Sunday and applauded the governor’s decision. The establishment has about 30 employees.
Co-owner Talmage Collins said the business plans to start a Go Fund Me page to help raise temporary funds for its employees until there is a plan for government aid.
“We hope that we can make it through the time and reopen and be back better than ever before,” he said. “Hopefully there will be some kind of assistance from the government to get through the time. But we just have to take it day by day.”
Collins and co-owner Eric Wentworth said restaurant officials are also helping their workers understand how to apply for unemployment and other benefits
“It’s not like other industries where people have the option of working from home or on the computer,” Wentworth said. “Our employees obviously make their living off of tips, so it’s really difficult and especially hard on this industry.”
Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb's directive says bars, restaurants and nightclubs must close to patrons but can provide take-out and delivery orders through the end of the month.
Holcomb told reporters in Indianapolis Monday afternoon that Indiana restaurants ought to be "winding down today." He suggested that the closures will go into effect on Tuesday.
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