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Now we're cookin'; restaurants to reopen with strict guidelines

Restaurants face new normal as some COVID-19 lockdowns ease
Posted at 1:12 PM, May 21, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-21 18:32:23-04

LEXINGTON, Ky. (LEX 18) — The days of curbside pick-up or delivery are almost over. If you've wanted to dine out, you may do so in Kentucky beginning on Friday.

Restauranters across the state are preparing to reopen their dining rooms to customers with a series of strict guidelines to follow, as handed down by the governor.

"What we're going to do is survey our local establishments to ensure that the guidance that's been passed down to us is being observed," said Luke Mathis of the Lexington-Fayette County Health Department.

Mathis, who oversees the environmental health team, said those guidelines include social distancing (a restaurant can't operate at greater than 33% of its capacity), mask-wearing by all employees, and health screening for those employees at the beginning of their shift. The health department plans to enforce these rules by putting boots on the ground all over the state.

"Over the next month, or month and a half, we plan to visit each of our restaurants to do survey inspections," Mathis said.

Non-compliance could result in closing a business down, but Mathis said it's more likely the health department would work with restaurant owners on best practices for becoming compliant.

This decision to reopen represents a significant step in the overall reopening of the state. Restauranters lost a massive portion of their business when the spread of COVID-19 relegated them to offering take out/delivery service only.

"They're excited to be open, and we're excited to have them back open," Mathis added.

Mathis also said he'd be surprised if any owner deliberately violated any of the safety guidelines that are coming from Frankfort.

"[Restaurant owners] care. They don't want anyone to get sick, or become unnecessarily exposed at their establishment," he said. "So I feel very comfortable with what we're doing going forward."

After more than two long months, your table awaits!