By Kathie McDonald-McClure
On August 10, 2020, Governor Andy Beshear extended the mask order for another 30 days. He also announced a new order and revised specific requirements (Version 5.1) effective August 11, 2020 for Kentucky bars and restaurants. Bars were allowed to reopen with 50% capacity and restaurants were allowed to increase their capacity from 25% back to 50%. However, both bars and restaurants are subject to the following changes:
- Both bars and restaurants are subject to an “enforced seat rule” that requires patrons to remain in their seats, except when entering, leaving or using the restroom.
- Both bars and restaurants must cut off service of food and drinks at 10 pm and close by 11 pm, except for drive-thru, carry-out and delivery services. This gives patrons an hour to consume what they were served before heading home.
The Governor said that “you should expect to have a seat, expect to sit in it, and expect not to get out of it unless it is to go to the restroom.” The Governor also said that all food and drink orders should be taken, and the service be delivered, at the table where the patrons who came together are seated.
The Governor noted that many restaurants had already created or increased existing outdoor seating. On the basis that outdoor seating is much safer, he strongly encouraged restaurants to prioritize the use of outdoor seating over indoor seating.
When the Governor announced on August 6th that these new measures were coming, he reminded Kentuckians of the 10-person limit on house gatherings, saying, “It’s really important … that we [don’t] exchange those later nights that might have been at an establishment for a house party.” He said this was occurring in other states with bar closing curfews prompting some officials to take additional measures to curtail such occurrences. For example, the Los Angeles Mayor announced on August 5th that he had authorized the city to shut off water and power services to resident properties that were hosting large house parties.