Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear (D) announced on Wednesday revamped coronavirus restrictions, including the closure of indoor services at restaurants and bars, the suspension of in-person learning in schools, and limits on gatherings in private homes, due to mounting concerns over the spread of the Chinese coronavirus.
Beshear announced the new rules on Wednesday but proclaimed that they are not the makings of a “shutdown.”
“This is not, and will not be, a shutdown. Our economy is open. But today we are announcing significant, but surgical and targeted steps designed to slow the spread of the virus and protect our people,” the governor said:
This is not, and will not be, a shutdown. Our economy is open. But today we are announcing significant, but surgical and targeted steps designed to slow the spread of the virus and protect our people. https://t.co/WKgIXkLSfB pic.twitter.com/ADzRxbxGxv
— Governor Andy Beshear (@GovAndyBeshear) November 18, 2020
However, under the order, restaurants will be forced to shut down indoor dining services beginning Friday at 5 p.m.
“Carryout, delivery, and outdoor seating service may continue, but only if the mask mandate and seating rules are enforced,” the governor said.
Coinciding with the indoor restaurant closures is a $40 million aid package aimed to assist small businesses in the food industry. According to the Courier-Journal, “applications will be accepted from Nov. 30 to Dec. 18, and entities that qualify will receive $10,000 to use for various costs,” but some restaurant owners say the aid will not be enough.
Per the Courier-Journal:
Businesses will be eligible for a maximum of $20,000 per location, with restaurants that have at least 50% of their sales from drive-thru service not eligible for the funds.
But Anoosh Shariat, owner of Anoosh Bistro and Noosh Nosh, said that $10,000 barely covers payroll for one week for one of his restaurants. Going back to only takeout means going from 10 cooks at Noosh Nosh to two.
“It’s really the bare minimum,” Shariat said. “Truly, it’s a month’s loss. It’s a crucial time, and a lot of our restaurants are going to have a hard time dealing with it. Last closing we were able to get some PPP (Paycheck Protection Program) money, and that kept us alive, barely, but this? If we don’t see anything from national or federal level, this is going to be a really breaking a lot of restaurants’ backs.”
Additionally, the restrictions will limit gatherings in private homes to eight individuals, maximum:
JUST IN: Small gatherings in Kentucky will be limited to 2 immediate households (a maximum of 8 people) from Nov. 20 – Dec. 13. pic.twitter.com/yAeIJxiAB6
— NewsChannel 5 (@NC5) November 18, 2020
Other indoor gatherings — such as weddings and funerals — will be limited to 25 people. Gyms and fitness centers will also be subject to capacity limitations, capped at 33 percent occupancy.
Additionally, in-person learning will be suspended beginning November 23.
Kentucky Republican Rep. Thomas Massie also expressed concern about the impact the restrictions will have, particularly on small businesses.
“Our governor just announced he’s indefinitely banning all dine-in restaurant service. But establishments can apply for $10,000 to compensate for their losses,” he said.
“Does he realize that won’t cover one night’s receipts for some of these establishments?” Massie asked, warning that the move will “bankrupt many of them”:
Our governor just announced he’s indefinitely banning all dine-in restaurant service. But establishments can apply for $10,000 to compensate for their losses. Does he realize that won’t cover one night’s receipts for some of these establishments? He will bankrupt many of them.
— Thomas Massie (@RepThomasMassie) November 18, 2020
“We’re enduring a third attack … this is our third counter attack,” Beshear said of his restrictions.
The state reported 2,753 new cases of the Wuhan virus on Wednesday.