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Lexington restaurants struggle to survive pandemic

Published: Oct. 23, 2020 at 9:29 PM EDT
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LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) - The oldest bar in Lexington, described as 87 years young by its loyal group of regulars, may become another empty building.

“When your bar has to shut down for a handful of months, it doesn’t work out," Bourbon n’ Toulouse Co-Owner Kevin Heathcoat said. "When your bar has to shut down every night at 10 or 11, it doesn’t work out.”

The Chevy Chase Inn may not survive this winter.

“This bar industry as a whole has just been dismal for everyone. And it’s not looking any better in the near future,” Heathcoat said.

Heathcoat says they were closed for months because of the pandemic and then a few weeks more because of construction on the street.

“We just had a meeting with probably 30 to 40 independent restaurant owners, managers and what not.”

The consensus from the group, it’s not possible to keep a restaurant going while operating at 50 percent capacity, especially for those with no outdoor seating.

“On a Sunday, at a bar, with NFL Football playing, and you are turning people away, it’s not going to be a sustainable model,” Heathcoat said.

Not only that, Heathcoat says costs of paper products have become very high. And those with patios will be paying a fortune for heaters this winter.

“If you have a favorite restaurant, you better support them now because they’re not going to be there come April or May.”

Not so much a plea, but a warning to the community.

Bourbon n' Toulouse is offering curbside pickup and delivery. Chevy Chase Inn does have some indoor and outdoor seating available.

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