Kentucky diners can head back inside now that the governor has lifted his ban on indoor dining.
This restriction lift means more money is back on the table for some local restaurants who saw a dramatic decline in sales at the start of the governor's recent mandate.
Justin Carabello of Carabello Coffee said the restriction made his business “deadsville.”
“You can get a massage, you can get your hair cut,” Carabello said. “But you can't come to your local coffee shop and get a cup of coffee?"
Carabello said his coffee shop will gain back the average 100 sales a day he lost during the mandate.
The news is good for another Northern Kentucky hot spot, The Gruff in Covington.
“We're excited and we know it’s 50% capacity and I'm totally fine with that,” said Avram Steuber, owner and chef at The Gruff. “Whatever is safe for the customer and us.”
Steuber said the mandate did affect their bottom line.
“Those servers. That’s where the big hurting point is. Everyone else can get on unemployment but those servers depend a lot on their cash tips,” Steuber said.
Outdoor dining rules made it tough to retain customers as weather got progressively colder.
“It’s cold outside. People are willing to go outside but only to an extent. If it rains or something that is going to hinder it,” Steuber said.
Janie Steigerwald is a customer who is glad to be back inside.
“I’d be freezing right now and I was excited we got to come in and eat lunch,” she said.
Even with the lift on the mandate, there are still some restrictions.
Customers have to wear a mask while not eating or drinking. Bars and restaurants will have to stop serving at 11 p.m. and close the doors at midnight.
“I think that we are all at a point where we just take what we can get at this point,” said customer Earl Oka. “It’s just weird, it’s a weird time.”
Event spaces, theaters and gyms can now reopen, but they are also limited to a 50% capacity.