LEXINGTON, Ky. (LEX 18) — The seating inside restaurants is limited to a 33% capacity, as mandated by the governor. And large gatherings aren’t allowed on the outdoor patio. Still, Erick Ostrander found himself having to defend the size of the crowd at The Paddock, the bar he owns in downtown Lexington.
“The health department has been here several times, and they were here today,” he said from the bar’s outdoor seating area. “They’ve been getting new information almost hourly from the governor. So as they’re learning, we’re learning.”
Videos and pictures of people inside The Paddock over the weekend are being posted to social media, and based on that evidence alone, it certainly did look to be, if not crowded, less than conducive to social distancing.
“It’s easy to post a video, but that’s what happens when 40 people go to the bathroom at once,” said Matthew Price.
Price has been working with Ostrander by providing food for The Paddock through his catering business. The idea that the two had discussed for years came to fruition once they had time to hash it all out while on lockdown.
“(Everything) comes pre-sealed, it’s all made in our kitchen inside tamper-proof (containers). It’s disposable, single-use stuff,” Price said.
It’s also for use on the day of only. Everything is brought in fresh daily from Price’s Jessamine County-based Price Dinner Club catering business.
Price’s place of business and The Paddock had to go through proper licensing procedures. Both locations were inspected by the health department, receiving a score of 100.
Ostrander says he’s doing everything that’s being asked of him but could use some help from his patrons with the apparent social distancing issue.
“We can’t walk around with a cattle prod to keep everyone off each other,” he joked.
No, he can’t do that even inside a place called “The Paddock,” so he’s taking other, less painful measures.
“We’ve got tables spaced apart, gloves, masks, hand sanitizer. Every time someone leaves a table, we wipe it down, our staff sanitizes it,” Ostrander explained.
Both Price and Ostrander were effusive in their praise of the health department’s willingness to work with them on making improvements and maintaining a high score.
“They’re a huge help, and they’re here to help us learn and make it better,” Price said.
“The health department has been walking us through this,” Ostrander added. He also said he wants people to come to enjoy themselves safely.
“We don’t want to make anyone sick,” he said.