All charges dropped against NKY cafe owner who refused to halt indoor dining during ban

Updated: Dec. 24, 2020 at 12:37 PM EST
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DRY RIDGE, Ky. (FOX19) - All criminal charges have now been dropped against the owner of a Northern Kentucky restaurant that refused to stop indoor dining in late November.

Beans Cafe & Bakery continued indoor dining service last month at its Dry Ridge and Hebron locations despite a Nov. 18 statewide ban issued by Gov. Andy Beshear. The governor said the order was due to the “wildfire”-like spread of COVID-19.

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

The restaurant’s food license was suspended in late November, and the owner Richard Hayhoe was served with notice of criminal charges. He was facing two misdemeanor counts of operating a restaurant without a permit, one in Grant County and another in Boone County.

On Wednesday, Hayhoe’s attorney, Chris Wiest, told FOX19 NOW the Grant County charge was dropped. At the time, Wiest said he expected the Boone County charge to be dropped as well.

Wiest was right and on Christmas Eve he posted on Facebook saying the Boone County charge was dropped.

The restaurant’s food license was reinstated Monday.

The statewide ban on indoor dining expired as intended on 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 on 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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