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Lexington bar feels COVID-19 restrictions unfairly target bars and restaurants

LEXINGTON, Ky. (WTVQ) — Many Lexington bars and restaurants were hoping with students back on campus their business would bounce back.

We found that’s not happening and it has one bar owner feeling coronavirus restrictions are unfairly targeting bars and restaurants.

“It’s just taking off literally the most valuable couple hours of our day, every single day,” says Erick Ostrander, owner of The Paddock.

Ostrander says the curfew is the one restriction he can’t get behind.

“To cut us off at 10 o’clock especially on the weekends cripples us,” says Ostrander.

UK students don’t like it either.

“We wanna experience college to the fullest and having a curfew kind of prohibits us from doing that,” says UK student Anna Shryock.

UK student Emma Carroll says getting out is how they meet new people and make new friends.

Ostrander says in his first week under curfew, he’s down $10,000 from the week prior.

“People don’t come out at 8 if they have to go home at 10,” says the bar owner.

He feels it’s unfair bowling alleys, movie theaters, retail and grocery stores don’t have curfews.

“It feels like whatever reason restaurants and bars are the only places spreading COVID,” says

Governor Andy Beshear says the curfew is needed because late nights out with alcohol involved often make it harder for people to follow the rules.

But Ostrander says the curfew combined with capacity, masks, and seating rules is just too much.

“I would love for the governor to kind of let us know when they’re thinking about reevaluating the curfew,” says Ostrander.

Students want that too.

“Like if there’s not a curfew it would give us something to do in public where it would be more safer than us having a party just because we can’t do anything else,” says Shryock.

Ostrander understands the importance of public health, but says he knows of no science proving a curfew will cease the spread when folks can be in a Walmart at 11 pm.

Bars and restaurants are among the businesses health departments can now fine if people aren’t wearing masks.

The Lexington-Fayette County Health Department says it hasn’t fined anyone yet.

Ostrander says he isn’t worried because his staff is making sure everyone has a mask and no one is served unless they do.

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