‘We’re losing our lives and everything we’ve worked for’ | Restaurants close over Kentucky’s COVID-19 restrictions

Some say it’s just too difficult to make ends meet. Others say their industry has been unfairly singled out and the consequences are devastating.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — It’s an unfortunate announcement Kentuckians are seeing more and more these days –restaurants saying it’s just not possible for them to survive under the current COVID-19 restrictions.

Some say it’s just too difficult to make ends meet. Others say their industry has been unfairly singled out and the consequences are devastating.

Jessica Kovats has worked inside Shenanigans for 13 years. She started as a server and worked her way up to management. She said the business made it possible for her to support her family but now the business is closing.

“We’re losing our lives and everything we’ve worked for. And we work hard,” Kovats said.

She and other employees learned they’d be losing their jobs earlier this week– after new covid restrictions eliminated indoor dining. Owner Eddy Kupper made the difficult decision to shut down. 

“Thirty-degree weather and sitting outside. It couldn’t happen,” Kupper said.

Kupper said they rely on business inside the bar, as do many others, leading some to say the state’s new restrictions will be the reason many in hospitality lose their livelihood.

“We’re not the only industry certainly that is struggling at all, but we seem to have been singled out and repeatedly targeted and there’s only so much they can handle,” Stacy Roof of the Kentucky Restaurant Association said.

The Kentucky Restaurant Association estimated 20% of Kentucky’s food establishments will close because of the pandemic, but the governor said the restrictions are necessary in the fight against COVID-19, pointing to research during a press conference last week.

“The CDC, Johns Hopkins, Stanford University working with others have all released recent studies showing restaurant and bars are clearly spreading, if not the greatest spread, of COVID-19,” Gov. Beshear said.

“To have one day and one announcement and have it all taken away from us, it’s… it’s just cruel,” Kovats said.

But it’s the reality for this business and others who worry their life’s work could soon be washed away.

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