Lexington bar owners optimistic as COVID-19 restrictions relax

LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) – Rain and cold may keep some people indoors on Friday night, but bad weather doesn’t seem to appease the spirits of downtown bar owners.

It’s the first night of the curfew lifted and bar owners will use the extra two and a half hours to serve customers.

“Don’t have that feeling of being in a hurry. You just need to drink responsibly and have a good time, ”said Sean Ebbitt, owner of Bluegrass Tavern.

Since last summer, there have been capacity restrictions and a curfew at all bars across the state. Most recently, the last call was at midnight and everyone had to be away by 1:00 am.

“General excitement. Glad the restrictions are coming to an end. They feel like we’re almost done and we can sort of take over the business as we wish, ”Ebbitt said.

Now, bars can be used until 2:30 am. In addition to that, bar seating will be allowed again. And the capacity will be increased to 75% for gatherings and businesses of less than 1,000 people.

“We are ready to go. Let’s do this. Back to making money. Let’s go back to our old ways, ”Ebbitt said.

Ebbitt says now is the perfect time with Thursday night live events set to begin in July.

“It will be a big impact for all businesses in this strip in a positive way. I think it’s going to attract a lot of downtown people who haven’t been downtown for a long time. It’ll show them that you can have fun, it’s a safe environment, and you can just have fun, ”Ebbitt said.

And if you don’t feel comfortable joining the downtown crowds, there are plenty of places, like Bluegrass Tavern, that still offer alternatives. Ebbitt says they do private bourbon tastings there and have finished their outdoor patio to have seats spaced out on a little drier days.

Copyright 2021 WKYT. All rights reserved.

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