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Bluegrass area restaurants prepare for Memorial Day weekend with lighter restrictions

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Posted at 5:15 PM, May 26, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-26 17:39:05-04

LEXINGTON, Ky. (LEX 18) — Restaurants across the Bluegrass are gearing up for warm weather and more red tape being lifted just in time for the big Memorial Day weekend.

On Friday, businesses, and venues with less than a thousand people can up capacity to 75%.

That's good news for the owner of the Blue Heron Steakhouse, Keith Clark, who's felt limited for months.

"The way that they're kind of backing off those allows us to do more with the footage that we have. I think it'll be a significant difference," said Clark.

Manager of the Thoroughbred Restaurant, Jessica Farris, says it's good news for their business as well.

"It's great. I mean, I think that with it being a holiday, I think I might bring more people out and people are going to be traveling a lot more," said Farris.

The six feet social distancing requirement for tables also goes away on Friday. So the tables might be a little closer depending on what restaurant you go to.

"You can see now my table placement is significantly further away than it could be. But you know people like a little more room and they've expanded on that and so we're not so sure we're going to compress it like we could," said Clark.

He's just happy to have the option to do so.

But there are still businesses that are holding out on offering dine-in until all the restrictions are lifted, like the Blue Door Smokehouse.

"Once we the mandate was to go to carry out only, which was like March of last year. We never went back to any dine-in after that," said owner Jeff Newman.

Their small barbeque shop only fits about 25 people. But they have huge businesses. People lined up to place orders even before they opened on Wednesday. So after shifting their model so much, they decided decreased capacity isn't worth it.

"It's a big undertaking. You know to make those big shifts and so throughout this entire pandemic situation, you know, restaurants and other establishments, retail and just really everything across the board. There's been a lot of shifts, there's been a lot of pivoting, and a lot of, you know, adapting to do," said Newman.

Every restaurant is different, but they all seem to be looking forward to the day when they can put the pandemic behind them and get back to normal.

On June 11 capacity restrictions will no longer exist for most venues and businesses. The state's mask mandate and midnight last call will also end.