Kentucky business owners adapt plans as latest round of COVID-19 restrictions announced Wednesday

New orders take effect Friday
Kentucky governor orders bars to close, reduce restaurant capacity for two weeks
Posted at 9:31 PM, Nov 18, 2020

Business owners across Kentucky are changing their operating plans on the fly after Gov. Andy Beshear announced restrictions to many aspects of life in the Commonwealth on Wednesday.

Restaurants and bars will be closed to indoor dining starting Friday at 5 p.m. through Dec. 13, while socially-distanced patio service and take-out/delivery can continue.

Gyms, fitness centers and pool centers will be limited to 33% capacity and group classes will be prohibited. Masks will be required while exercising inside those centers.

Soto Community Fitness owner Kim Luber said she’s using this opportunity to grow her Southgate business.

“We like to take the approach more of we’re here for you no matter where you’re working out,” she said. “We’ll assist you with that.”

The Crossfit gym is also taking advantage of technology by offering classes over Zoom.

“We’ve already launched what we’re calling Holiday Hustle,” Luber said. “At-home workouts for people to do between now and the new year, to encourage to work out at home with our support, guidance, enthusiasm, motivation.”

The coronavirus pandemic has been a way for Jerry’s Jug House in Newport to raise the bar.

“We’re a small shop,” owner Mark Ramler said. “We have very thin margins as it is.”

Ramler said the key to keeping his business going is adapting to new situations.

“Going through this for eight months now,” he said. “The thing is, you can’t adjust the wind, you can always adjust your sail.”

So far, those winds have blown in shutdowns, adjusted hours and carry-out only orders. Ramler said the constant reworking of their business model has prepared him for this latest round of changes.

“What’s next week going to bring about?” Ramler asked. “How do we revamp our business plan every single week?”

He said it’s times like these when they search for new ideas.

“Within 20-30 minutes of the announcement we were like, let’s get creative,” Ramler said. “Do we do more carryout food?”

To help ease the strain on small businesses, the state is offering the opportunity to apply for a $10,000 grant that was provided by the CARES Act.

“It sure as heck won’t be a typical holiday season as a bar or restaurant,” Ramler said. “But it’ll help stop the bleeding. Help us make the payments. Help keep staff on.”

Restaurants owned by publicly traded companies or businesses with at least 50% of sales via drive-thru traffic won't be eligible for the CARES Act grant, but local chains with more than one location will be eligible to receive up to $20,000 in aid. Applications are set to open Nov. 30, and they will be processed in the order they are received.