Business owners optimistic following first weekend without COVID-19 restrictions
LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) - This past weekend was a big milestone for businesses in this pandemic—it was the first weekend they could open at 100% capacity, without masking required.
Some owners said it’s starting to feel like normal, but they might need time to ramp up to that 100% capacity.
“To go from where we were and then I talk about it, all the adapting and changing and everything we had to do throughout the times, the shutdown in December and now to finally be ‘wide open’ is a good feeling,” said Graham Waller, co-owner of Winchell’s.
For over a year, Graham Waller has been preaching patience and optimism.
“Adapt, get through the issue. We know it’s going to end. That’s the one thing we knew, it was going to end and when it did end people wanted our product thankfully,” Waller said.
For the last five weeks Waller says the customers have been coming back.
“It’s been a good five weeks that we’ve been feeling it and then this weekend was kind of the culmination where everything was open, the bar was full, we had virtually every table being used,” Waller said.
Waller says they’ve been able to grow their staff as business has gotten busier.
“It’s crazy how it’s just feels back to normal you might say,” Waller said.
And even though it may feel like it’s back to normal, Waller says that he learned some things throughout the pandemic and some of those changes they’ve implemented are going to stick with the restaurant moving forward.
“We cut our hours which I think is fine on the back end. We’re not open as late which is an efficiency thing for us. The menu has been tightened up and consolidated a little bit and that’s probably mostly going to stay, so a lot of the things we implemented in the pandemic are good for us,” Waller said.
Waller says that the steady return to normal is great, but he’s hopeful for even better going forward.
“Probably steady growth I guess in the summer and then, knock on wood, if the sports can open up, and Keeneland, and all the usual suspects in the fall can open up and UK maybe, then you know we’re going to have a massive fall. It could be some of the busiest months we’ve ever had,” Waller said.
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