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Writer worries about spread of virus in Central Ky. restaurants

By Randy Patrick

I’m worried that many of the restaurants I’ve visited in Clark and Jessamine counties are following the guidelines for safe reopening of their dining rooms.

I just went to one of my favorite places for carryout, and there must have been 10-15 people crowded into a small space, many at a lunch counter not more than six inches apart (rather than the six feet required). None of the tables were closed off. There was a big jug of sanitizer on the counter, but no dispenser. You would have to handle it and unscrew the cap to use it. The condiment bottles and salt shakers were sitting out on the counter so everyone could handle them. And I was the only one wearing a mask. The cook wasn’t. The server wasn’t. Not one of the customers were. And none of the workers were wearing gloves.

This was the worst I’ve seen, but it’s been almost as bad at other places. Is no one enforcing the public safety rules? I like to support local, independent businesses, but they’ve been the worst among the few I’ve visited. At least the big chains seem to make a bit more of an effort. Two that seem to be doing it right are Starbucks and Jimmy John’s. But for the mom-and-pop places, it’s like “The deadly virus is over because the governor has allowed us to reopen.” It isn’t.

We just passed the 100,000 dead mark in this country. Think about that — 10,000 people a week in only about 10 weeks, or nearly twice as many as died in 10 years of the Vietnam war. I don’t want to sound like an alarmist, but people, this is a crisis. If you can’t do this right, the government is going to have to shut it all down again, and the gains we made in March and April through social distancing and business closures will have been for nothing.

I know people who have had this disease. I know people with relatives who have had it. Here in Clark County, the numbers have more than doubled in the past few days. Epidemiologists say it hasn’t even come to rural America yet, but it’s coming.

Randy Patrick is a reporter for the Winchester Sun. He posted this on his personal Facebook page. He posted the first comment: “I’ll have to say, as much as I like the food at the place I got lunch at today and the guy who owns it, I won’t be going back. He may not take this seriously, but I do.”