Since mid-March, we have seen schools, libraries, parks, gyms, retail stores, dental and medical offices, barber shops, restaurants and many other places people like to go shuttered because of the COVID-19 outbreak.
It has been very hard on us all, as we’ve been forced to adapt to a lifestyle most of us aren’t used to. Before the pandemic hit, we were accustomed to going to any such places without any hesitation.
There are many people who have stayed primarily at home during this pandemic to avoid catching the coronavirus. We can’t blame them one bit for doing so, as it is very important to look after their own health and the health of others.
For more than two months, this is the lifestyle that we have been forced to live. As we’ve stated several times, we believe Gov. Andy Beshear has done a fine job helping Kentuckians get through this pandemic by urging caution and making daily briefings to update Kentuckians about the steps being taken to curtail the virus’ spread and to announce phases to reopening businesses.
Last week, Beshear announced that restaurants in our state will be opening back up to the public this Friday with some restrictions – such as a maximum of 33 percent indoor seating capacity, no person may be within 6 feet of a person seated at another table or booth, employees must wear masks and no bare-hand contact with food.
Beshear also seemed to be looking to help restaurants by allowing them to extend the outdoor seating that some restaurants already have on their properties. Similarly, the Bowling Green City Commission voted Tuesday on a municipal order that will allow restaurants to petition the city to use public property to maximize outdoor seating and broadly suspend regulations regarding use of outdoor spaces for dining. We are really glad to see the city approve this order as more seating will certainly be needed than the 33 percent indoor occupancy.
While some of Beshear’s requirements – versions of which apply to all businesses, not just restaurants – might seem strict to some people, we believe they are necessary requirements to help prevent more people from catching this disease.
There will probably be some who disagree with these restrictions and choose to express their displeasure about them to the staff and managers at restaurants and other business. To those people, we would simply say this is the wrong approach to take. People who take issue with these requirements need to remember that employees have weathered this storm for the same amount of time as the customers. In addition, the employees might not like some of these requirements any more than the rest of us – especially wearing masks as it starts to get hotter outside – but they want to stay safe while also working to support themselves and their families.
With many businesses and restaurants gradually reopening, it is a new day in the coronavirus saga, and another step that will require adaptation. Some won’t like the 33 percent occupancy rule and might have to wait a little longer to get a table. Our advice to them is to practice patience, be nice to the staff and just be appreciative that you once again have the opportunity to eat in a restaurant or shop in a store. When told to do something by an employee or manager, listen to their instructions and do as they say. The staff at these restaurants and businesses is simply trying to look out for their co-workers and other customers, as well as trying to adhere to the state’s requirements in order to remain open for business.
We believe that if more and more people approach the reopening process in this manner, it will make everyone’s experiences more satisfying and less chaotic – and it might just help Kentucky move even faster toward a full return to normalcy.