FRANKFORT, Ky. — An online petition posted on the Kentucky Restaurant Association’s Facebook page is calling for restaurants to open at 50% capacity on Dec. 14 if Gov. Andy Beshear does not rescind his closure order. As of Wednesday morning, the petition had over 5,600 signatures.
The petition states, “If Governor Beshear does not rescind restaurant closures, restaurants will reopen on December 14 at 50 percent capacity.”
Owners of some Kentucky restaurants have created a group called the Kentucky Restaurant Coalition. According to the website, its mission is “To restore the rights for all Kentucky restaurants and bars who have been affected by the recent government restrictions and shutdowns of indoor dining due to the COVID-19 pandemic and to ensure their survival.”
“Over 75% of Kentucky’s 7,654 eating and drinking locations are in danger of closing permanently without your help and support,” the website said.
According to the website:
- Restaurants and drinking establishments account for 8.5% of all employment in Kentucky.
- Food services are projected to contribute 10,597 new jobs in Kentucky from 2016 to 2026.
- 76% of all Kentucky eateries are independently owned.
- Independent restaurants rely far less on pickup and drive-thru service. Fine and casual dining have declined by 85% and 65% respectively, while fast food has only decreased 21%. National chains like Dominoes, Pizza Hut, Papa Johns, Raising Cane’s, and Taco Bell have hired during this time.
- Nearly 65% of the revenue from local independent restaurants recirculates in the local economy compared to about 30% for chain restaurants.
- Keeping many of Kentucky’s 206,700 leisure and hospitality workers employed would save Kentucky $413 million in unemployment benefits and insurance taxes.