Owensboro’s bar owners reported various experiences over July 4th weekend — including having to turn some people away as well as navigating the new guidelines — but they are happy to be open for business.
Kentucky bars were allowed to reopen June 29 for the first time since March.
Some spots in town such as The Pub on Second didn’t open right away, but owner John Condray said he has been eager to welcome customers.
“We had a small group of friends and family that came in and helped us work through the kinks and make some drinks that we haven’t made in a while and enjoy seeing some smiling faces,” Condray said. “It gave us an opportunity to have customers come in that we know will help us learn and help us hit our learning curve without many issues.”
The scene at The Pub on Saturday night saw customers spread apart in and out the bar, which didn’t reach capacity.
Over at Ten O Six it was a different experience, as some customers had to be turned away.
“There’s been several times where we’ve had to hold the door before because we were at capacity. You can tell when you’re really getting full quick,” said owner Shawn Plemmons. “We’re so used to having our normal capacity — to have it shrunk in half, it’s a different set of challenges.”
Plemmons said “watching the numbers” to constantly making sure the bar didn’t surpass capacity was the hardest part.
“It was a little stressful trying to make sure everybody is obeying the social distancing,” he said. “We’re trying to do the right thing, and trying to do what the higher-ups (the state) want from you.”
Both Plemmons and Condray said they are aware of the spikes in other major cities and are doing what they can to prevent that from happening in Owensboro.
“We’re doing everything in our power to follow the state’s guidelines for reopening and we hope that things go well here,” Condray said. “We’re going to practice as safely as we can. All of our staff wear masks and gloves as we make and serve. We’ve sectioned off areas to keep customers socially distant.”