LEXINGTON, Ky. (LEX 18) — It's just one additional hour, but bar owners in downtown Lexington said a new extended curfew could have a major impact on their business.
After an announcement easing COVID-19 restrictions by Gov. Andy Beshear, beginning Friday night, bars were permitted to stay open until 1 a.m. with last call at midnight.
The announcement comes as case numbers and the positivity rate have continued to decline, and thousands of Kentuckians are vaccinated each day. The extended curfew could mean a 20% increase in sales for Bluegrass Tavern, according to Owner Sean Ebbitt.
"We feel that extra hour will be an hour where customers can continue enjoying and kind of stay out a little bit later," he said.
It's a feeling shared by Paul Murphy, owner of Horse & Jockey.
"The extra hour to 12, that's definitely going to help," Murphy said.
Murphy opened the bar in January 2020 and has struggled with the uncertainty of the pandemic.
"The year here has been pretty horrendous," he said. "Luckily, with the local community we've built up a nice following. It's kept us afloat basically."
But both owners are hopeful this is a step toward the lifting of more restrictions.
"Back to 100% would be fantastic," Murphy said.
"We're at the finish line, we're just a few, hopefully, a few more weeks away from being able to go to 2:30 a.m.," Ebbitt said.