CORBIN, Ky. (LEX 18) — The owners of a coffee shop in Corbin are urging a nearby restaurant that was featured in a recent LEX 18 story to comply with the governor's order temporarily banning indoor dining.
"It's been such a community effort through everything to keep everyone safe," said Cassiday Holt, who opened the Boardwalk Cafe and Emporium with her husband, Bradley, in October.
"And then, you know, we heard about a business that was not doing that," she said.
That business is Wingz 2.0, owned by Clifford Smith, who spoke to LEX 18 last week.
Smith said his decision to keep his indoor dining space open was a matter of principles.
"It's not about me," Smith said in an interview November 24. "It's not about this restaurant. This is about freedom and liberty."
After the Holts noticed that Smith's defiance had garnered a lot of attention on the restaurant's Facebook page, Bradley Holt decided to reach out to people on the page.
"All I said was, 'If you want to come to a business that cares about the community and the safety of everybody, we require masks, come down and see us,'" he recounted. "And I posted a link to our business."
Instead of being embraced, Holt's post was ridiculed by several apparent customers of Wingz 2.0.
The couple also believes the flurry of negative online reviews that followed stemmed from the Facebook exchange.
Smith declined to appear on camera for this story and he said he has nothing to do with the messages and reviews left for the Boardwalk Cafe and Emporium.
Although the tension on Facebook between the two establishments appears to have subsided, the Holts' underlying message has not changed.
"We just want everyone to stay healthy, do their part, and get through this thing together," Cassiday Holt said.
Because the coffee shop only opened in October, the only customers ever to walk inside have been required to wear masks.
But instead of lamenting the mandates, the Holts have doubled down on their efforts to adhere to health protocols, displaying signs about capacity limits and social distancing on the shop's front door.
"We want people to be healthy and safe," Bradley Holt said. "We both have family members affected by COVID-19."