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Local brewery owner looks for silver lining as state loosens restrictions

It's been a frustrating year for bar and brewery owners trying to maintain a steady flow of business due to the coronavirus.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Zach Barnes has poured his hard work into Great Flood Brewing Company, expanding to open a new location on Shelbyville Road in Middletown at the start of the new year.

Now, many chairs are on tables stacked aside as the brew chills and waits for Governor Andy Beshear to loosen restrictions on establishments like his.

Still, the optimists look to the silver lining.

“I think the customers we see now will become our regulars and our best customers in the future,” Barnes said.

To say it has been a frustrating year is an understatement. He’s battled to take care of his employees, customers and hope for guidance from the state.

The latter has been unpredictable as any other aspect.

“And I understand that there are a vast amount of challenges in governing in a time like this, he said. “But one of the things that I think we would like to see is a more thorough medium and long term plan with understanding of where our capacity will be at certain caseloads at certain exposure levels in our communities and in our counties.”

Governor Andy Beshear laid out new guidelines for restaurants that are set to take place on Tuesday.

  • Inside capacity has been increased to 50% percent, however, Gov. Beshear is urging these businesses to promote the use of outdoor space.
  • All customers must be seated and no congregating at the bar.
  • Employees and patrons must wear masks.
  • The last item must be served by 10 p.m.
  • Bars and restaurants must close by 11 p.m.

Barnes said federal and state small business help has made a big difference in keeping the suds flowing, but if this environment is going to last another six months or more, more would have to be done to help business owners like him and others battling to survive through the pandemic.

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