Mayor Fischer hosts tele town hall about challenges facing local restaurants reopening during the COVID-19 pandemic

May 21, 2020

Mayor Greg Fischer talked with members of Louisville’s restaurant scene today about the issues they are facing as authorities begin lifting restrictions placed on their establishments during the COVID-19 pandemic.

As part of his Healthy At Work economic reopening strategy, Gov. Andy Beshear has given Kentucky restaurants permission to reopen their dining rooms on Friday at 33 percent capacity and with a bevy of strict health and safety measures.

“So many folks are saying how they’ve been anticipating this weekend,” the Mayor said during today’s tele town hall on Facebook Live. “There’s a collective pride in our city toward our world-class food scene (and) the farming community.”

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Mayor Fischer said officials are working to balance the continuing need for people to stay home as much as possible and maintain social distancing with the need to keep the city’s vibrant restaurant community afloat during this uncertain economic time.

“How do we safely evolve back into bourbonism and our food scene in the world of COVID-19?” the Mayor asked. “We’re going to come back in an authentically Louisville way that will set the standard for how to do this.”

Jesus Martinez, owner of Con Huevos, said reopening restaurant dining rooms will be “complicated” given the need to protect both customers and employees.

“We’re trying to come back from ‘survival mode’ to the new reality,” Martinez said.

Some local eateries like Wiltshire on Market are keeping their dining rooms closed despite the easing of restrictions. Wiltshire owner Susan Hershberg said the space is too small to allow for adequate social distancing.

“We’re in a precarious position,” said Hershberg, who has kept her business going with carryout meals, including cocktails and wine. “We don’t feel it’s safe for us to open.”

Travis Doster, Texas Roadhouse senior director of public relations, said the Louisville-based chain has already reopened 200 of its dining rooms around the country but is not rushing to resume in-person dining here. He said Texas Roadhouse is using a “lag and learn” strategy, observing how reopening goes in the community before jumping in.

Nonetheless, he said the demand is certainly there.

You can watch a replay of today’s tele town hall at www.facebook.com/MayorGregFischer.    

Daily COVID-19 data

As of Thursday, there have been 39 new confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Louisville, bringing the total to 2,144 with 1,393 recoveries. There have been four additional deaths since Wednesday. The confirmed Louisville total is 144.

Gender/age details

  • Individual/90+ years-old
  • Individual/90+ years-old
  • Male/88-years-old
  • Male/69-years-old

Currently, 37 members of LMPD, Louisville Fire, Metro EMS, Metro Corrections and the Sheriff’s Office are off-duty due to COVID-19:

  • 12 are off with positive tests and in self-isolation.
  • 20 are off and quarantined due to exposure to someone with a positive test.
  • 5 are “screened off” with symptoms and tested, or due to be tested, but have not received test results.

Positive test numbers for first responders/public safety since the incident began:

  • 48 positive tests.
  • 36 have fully recovered and returned to duty.

Metro Corrections inmate data for May 21:

  • 634 inmates have been tested
  • 9 positives.
  • 1 test is pending.