Mayor Fischer announces Lift Up Lou to raise spirits and keep residents connected during the COVID-19 outbreak

March 19, 2020

As the community comes together to fight the unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic, Mayor Greg Fischer today stressed the need to keep our spirits up and stay connected, despite the “social distance” between us.

The Mayor announced the creation of Lift Up Lou, an effort joined by numerous local organizations and individuals to boost spirits, entertain, educate, and provide health and exercise options.

“During World War II, the USO was famous for giving weary soldiers a place to briefly get away and decompress,” the Mayor said. “Lift Up Lou will be Louisville’s way to keep our bodies healthy, our minds fed, and our connections strong during this challenging time.”


Multiple individuals and groups have already committed to join Metro Government in this effort, including the Louisville Urban League, Fund for the Arts, Muhammad Ali Center, noted chef Edward Lee, entrepreneur Ted Smith, and Louisville Orchestra Music Director Teddy Abrams, to name a few.

“There are all sorts of creative ideas that we have just started discussing, and that we’re going to activate very soon,” Abrams said. “It’s part of our effort to be a leadership city in ensuring that we’re all connected.”

For example, Abrams and other local musicians will build a song for Louisville during livestream jam sessions.

“Lift Up Lou will provide opportunities to remain mentally and physically healthy. We need to make sure that our humanity and culture is not only kept alive but strengthened during this time,” Abrams said. “If we do that, Louisville will come out of this stronger than ever before.”

Every day, followers of the @LiftUpLou social media channels can count on:

  • A morning exercise option
  • An afternoon education lesson
  • An afternoon entertainment session
  • A mindfulness exercise to finish up the day

“This COVID-19 situation is stressful to the entire community, and the nation, and the world,” the Mayor said. “We’ve always stood strong in the face of these challenges and emerged better for it, and we will this time too. Things will be different for a time, but there’s no reason we can’t try and enjoy ourselves, learn something new, and keep our minds and bodies active and healthy during this crisis.”

The Mayor asked Louisvillians to also share what they are doing to lift their spirits. Go to the Lift Up Lou social media channels or to connect.

“We want to hear from you!” Mayor Fischer said.

Lift Up Lou has already begun posting uplifting and engaging content to social media:

  • Chef Edward Lee and the Lee Initiative have turned the restaurant 610 Magnolia into a relief center for restaurant workers who have been laid off or have had a significant reduction in hours and/or pay. They are offering help for those in dire need of food and supplies. Learn more at
  • If you’ve got cabin fever, get outside! Visit Jefferson Memorial Forest, Kentucky's largest forest. Remember to keep a safe social distance of at least 6 feet from other hikers. Share your hiking selfies with us via #LiftUpLou.
  • You can listen to Louisville Free Public Library talks via the LFPL podcast at or on your handheld device – just look for "At the Library" on Spotify, or wherever you listen to podcasts.
  • The Louisville Zoo may be closed, but you can visit virtually. Go to to find crafts and educational activities to stay connected to the animal world.
  • Ready to stay fit or start a new routine? Check out this awesome, no equipment, workout plan from They have hundreds of workouts available for free.
  • A great way to keep your brain sharp is to learn a new language. There are tons of free resources online, and is a great place to start. They offer 20+ language courses with free and paid options.

For more information on the Lift Up Lou initiative, visit or go to @LiftUpLou on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter. The website will include tips on activities the family can enjoy during this time, links to social media pages, ways for the public to share ideas on how to boost community morale, and a button that will allow individuals, groups, or organizations to donate to the One Louisville: COVID-19 Response Fund.

“We are blessed in Louisville to have some of the best, most compassionate, creative minds anywhere in the world. Many of them have stepped up to the plate to help out with Lift Up Lou. They’re going to help us stay positive and upbeat, because we all need a break. So, stay tuned and follow @LiftUpLou on social media and go to for more information,” said the Mayor.

Communication to food service establishments 

Metro Government today sent a communication to local food service establishments that are operating delivery, drive thru, carry out and curbside pickup offering guidance on good hygienic practices to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. The city is encouraging them to provide employees supplies and extra time for handwashing and to make sure employees do not work while sick, which is a best practice and recommendation for food service establishments, under any circumstances.

If residents patronizing a local restaurants and going inside to get carry out, please remember to maintain proper distancing from others who may be waiting. And always wash hands with soap and water for 20 seconds before eating.

Communication with businesses

For businesses, the city is asking that they please give employees the flexibility to work from home as much as possible. Enforce social distancing of six feet apart and emphasize the importance of hygiene and handwashing.

Today, Mayor Fischer also had a call with members of the Louisville Independent Business Alliance (LIBA). The city is working to find ways to help Louisville's great local businesses through this crisis.

The city is establishing a small business resource page on to see what federal, state and local resources may be available to help small businesses and their employees now.

The city is working to identify additional resources and assistance to help small business owners, and will get that information out soon. The Mayor has spoken with business owners who were concerned about making rent. On the residential side, evictions have been suspended for 30 days. On the business side, he encourages all business owners to talk to their landlords.