OWENSBORO, Ky. (WFIE) - Kentucky restaurants can officially welcome customers back inside to dine-in on Friday.
However, it won’t look the same as it did over two months ago.
Governor Andy Beshear’s Healthy at Work plan lays out guidelines that restaurants have to follow. The first three pages of that plan are the social distancing requirements and says that restaurants can only fill one-third of its capacity with guests. That’s going to require a lot of spacing between tables and no large parties.
We reported last week, the city of Owensboro is allowing restaurants to really take advantage of outside space. Don Marios in downtown Owensboro, a business that plans to reopen Friday, has added a lot of extra seating down the sidewalk, including in front of other businesses, which is allowed with the new city ordinance.
However, not all restaurants plan to reopen. The Lure and Famous Bistro, for example, are looking toward the end of June before they allow customers back in.
The Lure is located in the riverfront Hampton Inn, and the owner says about 50 percent of his customer base is hotel guests and business travelers. He says with the restrictions, and the health of his employees at the top of his mind, he wanted to wait a little bit longer before filling his tables.
“One of the things we are curious about here is how the hotel traffic will pick up over time, and as the hotel traffic picks up then getting staff back involved makes a little more sense," said Ben Skiadas, owner of Lure Seafood and Grill. "If people feel safe to travel, then surely we can feel safe to open back up the restaurant.”
Ben did say he’s appreciative of the city that’s been working with restaurants in town, like looking into if it would be worth shutting the street down to provide more room for outdoor seating and waiving encroachment permit fees.
The one-third rule does not apply to outdoor seating.
Friday is the first day, but we’ve learned that restaurants like Colby’s and Mellow Mushroom won’t open for in-person dining just yet, but they are still providing carry out.
If you’re not comfortable dining out yet, most restaurants will continue their take out options.