Will restaurants reopen Dec. 14? Online petition says yes, with or without governor’s approval

“It’s all about survival that’s why all the restaurants got together because if this continues through the rest of this year we’re not going to make it.”

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Some Kentucky restaurants are pushing back and sending an early warning to Governor Andy Beshear about reopening with or without his approval. In an online petition they’re telling the governor that if his current order restricting in-person dining does not expire by mid-December 14, they will reopen anyway at 50 percent capacity. 

“Don’t punish everyone for others that maybe are not doing what they should be doing,” owner of Martini Italian Bistro Jim Davis said.

The new year will mark the restaurant’s 20th anniversary.

“We were hoping to have a nice celebration for that year and right now we’re just hoping to survive this year,” Davis said.

Davis is one of more than 4,200 chefs, restaurant owners and supporters who have signed the online petition, as of Tuesday evening

“Why is it just us – the restaurant business that has to suffer?” Davis said. “The grocery stores half of them don’t even sanitize their shopping carts now but we’re the ones that get picked on”

Other restaurants like Taco Luchador, La Bodeguita De Mima and Varanese have signed the petition. 

“It’s all about survival that’s why all the restaurants got together because if this continues through the rest of this year we’re not going to make it,” Davis said. 

Options like carryout or heated bubbles on the patio have helped Davis, but he says it’s not enough to keep from drowning.

“Our rent is still 100 percent rent that hasn’t been cut and our utilities doesn’t get cut so to survive on five tables it’s just impossible.” 

At Bearno’s Pizza by the bridge on Main Street, part owner of the restaurant George Timmering says he supports the petition.

“My restaurant and a lot of operations I see they’re running safe, they’re following all the precautions,” Timmering said. “This is a busy time of the year a huge revenue time and we’re missing out on a lot of opportunity.”

Timmering said his restaurant was down 57 percent in November. 

“And that’s almost all dining room and bar business,” he said.

But he left his signature out of the petition. 

“Right now I follow the law,” Timmering said. “I don’t have to agree with the governor but I have to respect the governor.” 

President and CEO the Kentucky Restaurant Association, Stay Roof said their biggest concern is that Beshear could possibly extend his order past December 13. 

“We don’t want our licenses revoked or yanked to not serve food,” Roof said. “We want to comply, we’ve been compliant.”   

Governor Andy Beshear pointed to research from the CDC about the spread of COVID-19 at restaurants and bars to back his restrictions when they were announced. 

“The goal has always been to get the virus under control over these three weeks and to reopen restaurants at the prior capacity limit,” communications director Crystal Staley said in a statement sent to WHAS11. 

During his daily COVID-19 briefing Tuesday Beshear said his hope is to reopen indoor dining “at some capacity” by December 14. “We want to watch the numbers but that is our hope,” he said.

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