On Monday, March 16, Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear implemented a policy restricting restaurants from allowing dine- in customers. Until further notice, restaurants can only provide take-out and delivery services.
Denny Griffin, executive director of Franklin-Simpson Industrial Authority, said he believes households and businesses may be able to handle the effects for two or three weeks, but is unsure how they will do if the ban is prolonged.
“If it is longer than that [timeframe] we could be in the throws of a depression because it continues to have a strong impact on everyone,” he said.
Many restaurants in Franklin and Simpson County have switched to offering take out and delivery, even if it was previously not a go-to option. Some restaurants have also reduced their hours of operation and menu options.
“We are just trying to help the community, we are not even worried about making money at this point,” said Tim Brummett, manager of the Colorado Grill in Franklin. “Right now it is all up in the air, we doing it day-by-day and seeing how it goes.”
Colorado Grill has not laid off any employees and is trying to help staff receive as many hours as they can to still pay their bills, Brummett said.
After experiencing a decline in order, the establishment changed its hours to 11 a.m.-8 p.m. Brummett said the restaurant can get through two weeks and still be fine, but any longer and they start to worry.
Carlos Olivo, manager at El Potrero, said they are offering to-go orders, though they do not deliver. The restaurant has changed their hours from 11 a.m.-8:30 p.m.
“These last three days were, I’m going to say 50% usual sales, maybe even less,” said Robert Stupar, owner of The Brickyard Cafe.
Stupar said the his plan is to change the restaurant’s hours to close at 8 p.m. They are trying to be creative with food so they don’t order too much, and may restrict some items that are not selling as fast. The Brickyard Cafe has started offering delivery free of charge inside the city limits and a $5 fee outside the city limits along with take-out as an option.
“We are hoping this passes fast, so we can get back to normal, but no one really knows,” Stupar said. “If it lasts longer than a month it could be hard for any restaurant or any business.”
Several employees who had money saved up offered to take some days off so the ones that needed the money could continue working, he added.
The restaurant is using this time to do remodeling, organizing and cleaning.
At Hot Plate, Stephanie Martin, said for the moment the establishment’s hours have not changed, but it is a possibility in the future. While the menu hasn’t changed, they are cooking less during this time.
“We are not able to staff the way we used to so a lot of people are out of work,” she said.
Debbie Goodnight, owner of Rylan’s, said the restaurant is doing very well and she has been blown away by the amount of support.
The restaurant’s hours have changed to 6:30 a.m.-7 p.m. seven days a week and a few employees were let go. She said all of the staff knows they will be hired back once they are fully operational again.
“My main concern is my employees and how this is going to affect them,” she said. “The uncertainty is the main challenge, not knowing how long is this going to last, working about if they decided to do drastic measures like they have done in other countries.”
Goodnight is offering delivery and take-out options to her customers.
While the Frosty Freeze has outdoor seating only, manager Kelsey Yates said the health department has told the restaurant they cannot allow customers to sit or they will be fined. However, with the rainy weather this season, Yates added that customers have not asked to dine outside so far.
Frosty Freeze will begin closing at 9 p.m.
“We are definitely taking precautions and we wash our hands a million times a day so that is nothing new to us,” Yates said.