Within 24 hours of Governor Andy Beshear's announcement that restaurants statewide would be limited to 25 percent indoor capacity for at least two weeks in an attempt to slow the spread of COVID-19, two local restaurants announced they would be temporarily closing their doors outright.
On Monday evening Hunt Prather, owner of Somerset's Mellow Mushroom, announced that an employee had tested positive for COVID-19 after traveling out of state. The restaurant is closing for two weeks in order to test the rest of staff, conduct contact tracing for customers and deep clean the facility. The restaurant plans to reopen on August 11.
"While we have not been mandated to close, the health and safety of our customers, staff, and their families is our chief concern and thus we have made the difficult decision to do so for the next two weeks," Prather stated. "Per the Governor’s recommendation, we instituted contact tracing inside of the restaurant earlier this month. As a result of these early measures, we are able to work with the LCDHD to quickly identify anyone, guest or employee, who dined or worked within our facility on Saturday or Sunday, July 25-26, 2020 and may have come into contact with the COVID positive employee."
In a Facebook post on Tuesday, the operators of Guthrie's Grill announced the Burnside restaurant would be closing for one week — citing the general rise in COVID-19 numbers statewide.
"Due to the increase of COVID-19 cases in KY, we have made the decision to CLOSE for one week to allow our employees to be medically cleared of any potential exposure," the post stated. "We feel this is in the best interest of our employees, guests and our community! We thank you for your understanding and apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused."
In a followup post, Guthrie's clarified that they are taking the precautionary measure not because of any positive tests among their own staff but because one of staff members also works at Mellow Mushroom and could potentially have been exposed. That individual was tested Tuesday morning.
"This decision was made with an over abundance of caution to protect the longevity and success of our business and to ensure the financial welfare of our 34 employees," the second post concluded.
Guthrie's Grill plans to reopen on August 4.