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Omicron surge leads to familiar concerns for Lexington restaurant owners

Omicron surge leads to familiar concerns for Lexington restaurant owners
Published: Dec. 31, 2021 at 2:42 PM EST
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LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) - Restaurant owners are concerned about the omicron variant.

Debbie Long says her restaurant, Dudley’s on Short, took a hard hit at the start of the pandemic. She remembers having to close last year after employees tested positive for the virus.

She’s hoping the current safety protocols in place will be enough to keep business operating. She encourages her staff to get vaccinated. Those who aren’t must wear a mask.

“It’s ramping up and some people may decide to not go out, and I would understand that, so we’re just going to keep our fingers crossed that people are vaccinated,” said Debbie. “Once we kind of get to the beginning of the next year, I think we’ll probably have to ask for them to be tested.”

Although some restaurants were able to recoup their financial losses from last year. Owners say they’re still facing challenges.

“We were sort of anxious about January, February, and March. Now we’re not sure what business will be like. It’s normally not the busiest months,” said Debbie.

Next door, Carlo Vaccarezza opened his restaurant, Frank & Dino’s, three months ago. He thought the pandemic was winding down.

“All of sudden, out of nowhere it became worse than ever,” said Carlo. “If it continues and gets worse and worse, the government is going to have to do something. If there’s a shutdown again to 25, 50, or 75 percent capacity, of course, it’s going to affect us.”

Besides telling his staff to get vaccinated and keeping customers six feet apart, Carlo says there’s not much else he can do. But if covid cases keep rising, he anticipates a setback.

Restaurant owners say if you have a reservation and choose not to dine out for covid-related reasons, please cancel it ahead of time.

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