Empty Restaurant Tables

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- In light of Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear's new restrictions on restaurants and bars, it is all the more critical customers support and eat local.

Beshear announced Wednesday that bars and restaurants must stop indoor dining starting Friday for three weeks. Outdoor dining, to-go and delivery options are still allowed.

Through shutdowns and capacity limitations, local restaurants have adapted all year, and that won't stop now.

"We try to have some element of plans for what may come to us ahead," said Scott Harper, managing partner of Bristol Bar and Grille. "And we'll certainly do everything we can to adapt to it."

A Highlands staple, Bristol Bar and Grille only recently reopened the dining room after spending months renovating and redoing the menu. The restaurant, with three locations, put an emphasis on safety precautions along with curbside and delivery options.

"People have been supportive and been real positive," Harper said. "And I think people have been happy about what we're doing to keep everyone as safe as can be."

And the need is critical now for customers to support the restaurant industry by continuing to order out from their favorite local eateries.

"My overriding thing is to support local, because you know the money stays here. It's reinvested back into the community," Harper said. "A lot of the big chains and restaurants are probably going to likely be able to weather this better than our smaller, little restaurant groups. So that's all I can say. Support the ones that you know and love in your community."

Despite waves of community support, the pandemic has already forced other restaurants to close for good through the spring, summer and fall. Another Highlands classic, Uptown Café, recently announced it would close its doors on Nov. 28. The owner said it is no longer financially feasible to operate in the pandemic.

“It’s going to be sad,” said Kelley Ledford, owner of Uptown Café. “We’re a little family group. It’ll be sad to break up. And I certainly didn’t want it to end this way, but we just basically were losing too much money.”

It came down to not having enough traffic through the restaurant, but Ledford doesn’t blame anyone for not feeling comfortable to eat out during a pandemic. She thanked her family, work family and customers that have also become like family for decades of support.

“I really am truly grateful to have been a part of this community for so long,” she said.

Ledford received PPP funding to help keep the restaurant going, but it ran out weeks ago. She is thankful for the local and state support. However, she said if the federal government doesn’t start doing more to support and protect small businesses, she believes her restaurant closing is just the start of an avalanche.

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