Local restaurants and bars react to new COVID-19 mandate

BOWLING GREEN, Ky.- “I feel frustrated, with one word. That’s about it,” said Anna’s Restaurant owner and operator Vilson Qehaja. 

Restaurants and bars are feeling the effects of the second hard hit of the pandemic. 

Governor Andy Beshear has ordered that all restaurants and bars close indoor dining beginning at 5 p.m. Friday.

Qehaja voiced his frustrations. 

“It’s been very tough the whole year. Barely gonna make it, but now we have to shut down again for the second time,” said Qehaja. 

The governor also stated businesses can apply for $10,000 to help get through these tough times. To Qehaja this won’t make much of a difference. 

Across town, at the Bike Rack Bistro, co-owner Patrick Folker is facing the same news. 

“It’s like a boxing match, a one-two punch you know. For the most part you can handle one punch to the head. But that second and third punch to the head it gets a little bit overwhelming,” said Folker. 

Folker said it comes at the worst time. 

“This is the holiday season, it’s super busy for us. Anybody in the hospitality industry – Thanksgiving, Christmas, it is our Superbowl, all hands on deck,” said Folker. 

But the local community came out Thursday in support. Anna’s Restaurant usually has 30-40 reservations on a weeknight. Qehaja said Thursday night the restaurant has over 100 reservations. 

“Last night I had another probably 10, 15, 20 reservations in my head from people who I know on a first name basis that I haven’t even had a chance to put in our database that are coming out tonight to support us. And people are buying gift cards already,” said Qehaja. 

Restaurants will still be permitted to offer delivery and to-go orders. Customers are encouraged to still order take-out from their favorite restaurants to help them during this time.

The mandate is currently set to end at 11:59 p.m. Dec. 13.