Criminal charge dropped against NKY cafe owner who flouted indoor dining ban

The owner of Beans Cafe and Bakery in Dry Ridge and Hebron faces criminal charges for violating...
The owner of Beans Cafe and Bakery in Dry Ridge and Hebron faces criminal charges for violating Gov. Andy Beshear's COVID-19 related orders halting in-person dining last month.(Provided by Beans Cafe and Bakery)
Updated: Dec. 23, 2020 at 5:24 PM EST
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DRY RIDGE, Ky. (FOX19) - A criminal charge has been dropped against the owner of a Northern Kentucky restaurant that refused to stop indoor dining in late November.

Beans Cafe & Bakery with locations in Dry Ridge and Hebron, continued indoor dining service last month despite a Nov. 18 statewide ban due to what Gov. Andy Beshear described as the “wildfire”-like spread of COVID-19.

The Northern Kentucky Health District referred the matter to the Grant County Attorney’s Office per protocol.

In late November the restaurant’s food license was suspended, and the Grant County Sheriff’s Office served owner Richard Hayhoe with notice of criminal charges.

The charges comprised two misdemeanor counts of operating a restaurant without a permit, one arising from Grant County and the other from Boone County.

Hayhoe’s attorney, Chris Wiest, told FOX19 NOW Wednesday evening the Grant County charge has been dropped.

Wiest says the Boone County charge remains but he expects those will be dropped as well.

The restaurant’s food license was reinstated Monday.

The statewide ban on indoor dining expired as intended Dec. 14, while the COVID-19 surge that prompted it has plateaued, according to recent positivity rates, case metrics and hospital bed usage.

Kentucky is reportedly the only state in the country where fewer ICU beds are in current use than were in use three months ago.

Beshear and state health leaders have credited the Nov. 18 order for the plateau.

Beans Cafe was one of several Northern Kentucky businesses to sue Beshear and the health district over the summer, claiming the governor’s statewide pandemic orders were illegitimate.

The Kentucky Supreme Court ruled against the restaurant and its fellow plaintiffs Nov. 12.

According to WKYT, a Lexington coffee shop that also continued indoor dining despite the governor’s order lost its license as well.

A judge granted a temporary restraining order against the coffee shop, Brewed, on Dec. 1.

The shop’s license was subsequently reinstated, and, as of last week it was back open serving food and drinks.

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