For the first weekend since a pandemic-induced curfew was set in place in August, Kentucky businesses were able to serve customers for an extra hour Saturday night.
Bars and restaurants are now able to serve until midnight and remain open until 1:00 a.m., bringing in opportunities for more business for places that have been struggling during the pandemic.
Kentucky governor Andy Beshear had ordered the curfew for both bars and restaurants in August of 2020 after closing bars for two weeks at the end of July, based on White House recommendations to limit the spread of coronavirus. In September, Beshear walked his initial curfew, ordering bars to stop serving at 10:00 p.m., back to an 11:00 p.m. service cut-off time and a closing time of midnight.
Now, bars and patrons alike can enjoy another hour of operation.
"It's great," said Justin Stein, food and beverage manager at Coppin's Restaurant. "It adds an extra hour to have our guests along with us. A little more time for everyone to hang out and get a break from the past 12 months that everybody's been dealing with."
Since Ohio ended its statewide curfew in February, Stein said a lot of Northern Kentucky customers started making the trek across the river to enjoy bars that could stay open until 2:00 a.m., adding another blow to businesses already struggling through the pandemic.
"The curfew has been pretty challenging for us," said Ron Sanders, co-owner of Darkness Brewing. "Obviously, being in the bar business, a lot of people get off work and want to settle in and go out and play at night."
With more time available in Kentucky now, business-owners are more confident customers will come out to take advantage.
"People are eager to get out and they're having fun," said Stein. "They're following the rules."