COVINGTON, Ky. (FOX19) - Covington city leaders are taking additional steps to help restaurants survive the COVID-19 pandemic while honoring safety guidelines.
“The past couple of months have been ups and downs honestly from when we were shut down just doing take out to when we reopened,” Bill Whitlow, operator of Rich’s Proper Food & Drink, said.
Seven restaurants and bars in the Roebling Point and Duveneck Square business district will have additional temporary outdoor seating, thanks to the city.
“We’re really thankful to the city for allowing us to do this to make our guests feel more comfortable and spaced out since we have lost a lot of space inside so they feel more out in the open and being able to socialize properly,” Melissa Sullivan, Operations Manager at Braxton Brewing Company, said.
“So this is about their survival. Restaurants have really been hit hard with COVID and the city is making every effort we can to ensure their survival and give them the best chance to maximize the summer and the weather to increase their revenues,” Josh Rhodes, liaison for the city’s restaurants and bars, said.
The city added outdoor seating back in May, but it wasn’t enough.
“What we gave them was great and it was a good first step but we felt like we needed to do more,” Rhodes said.
Now, several roads are being blocked off with barricades to allow for the patio space and parking lanes have been added on West 7th Street.
“We’re trying to catch up at the moment and we’re trying to do it safely. So this allows the extra space to space out the tables but still get the capacity where we’re fully working our kitchen and our bar and everything else,” Whitlow said.
Customers are already on board with the changes.
“I mean it’s definitely nice to have more seating. I know things have been a little hard to get in places with the number of seating indoors and once the weather changes I think it’s really great,” Aaron Stigler said.
City leaders say it’s crucial to help out the businesses now just in case the pandemic carries over into the winter months when people won’t be able to sit outside.