Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

The COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in a backlog of complaints to the Better Business Bureau of Kentucky.

President and CEO Reanna Smith-Hamblin says the pandemic has made it harder for businesses to respond to consumer concerns.

"A lot of those complaints are due to businesses being understaffed (so) now the complaints are not going to the proper place," she said.  "So, a lot of people are waiting for things like appliances, and they are back ordered for months, and a lot of people are really angry and we’re seeing that in the complaints.”

Material Handling Systems Facebook

A new manufacturer is coming to Bowling Green and creating 200 jobs.  Material Handling Systems, based in Bullitt County, is expanding its operations by adding a new facility in the Kentucky Transpark. 

MHS produces conveyor systems for companies, including UPS, FedEx, and Wayfair. In a virtual news conference on Thursday, CEO Scott McReynolds said Bowling Green is a good fit for the company.

“Of course, the access to major transportation routes, proximity to our other operations, and it’s a growing population center with a strong workforce and a great quality of life for our employees," McReynolds said.

A national company with deep roots in Kentucky is offering a financial incentive to employees who choose to get the COVID-19 vaccine.

Dollar General is offering a one-time payment, equal to four hours of regular pay, to hourly workers after they receive the COVID-19 vaccination.

The company wants to encourage workers to get the vaccine when it’s offered to them in the priority distribution schedule. 

In a corporate press release, Dollar General said it is also removing barriers to vaccinations by offering travel time, and assisting with mileage expenses and child care needs.


Lisa Autry

The city of Bowling Green is beginning 2021 with a new mayor for the first time in a decade. 

Todd Alcott was sworn into office in December after winning the mayoral race over two write-in candidates. Alcott succeeded Bruce Wilkerson, who dropped out of the race for re-election last year after serving as Bowling Green mayor since 2011. 

Alcott brings a military background to his new role. In an interview with WKU Public Radio, the retired Air Forice Lt. Col. said the skills he acquired in the military translate to running city government.

"I was never a flier. I was always in charge of personnel, people, facilities, manpower, and finances, Alcott said. "This is a government by the people. That was a government for the people. I feel like people are the same. We want to make sure our taxes, our revenue, go to the things that make us a better quality of life."


Some minority and low-income business start-ups are finding help through a new program administered by the Housing Authority of Bowling Green.

Since August, the People's Opportunity Program for Underserved Populations or POP-UP, has awarded micro-loans, business consulting, and mentoring to three new businesses. The program’s goal is to level the playing field for members of underserved populations interested in becoming entrepreneurs.

Dawn Bolton is the small business consultant for the POP-UP program.

Moonlight BBQ Facebook

The city of Owensboro is giving an economic boost to local restaurants and bars impacted by COVID-19.

As long as they’re in good standing with the city and don’t owe delinquent taxes, the establishments are eligible for the Restaurant/Bar Supplemental Payroll Program.  City Manager Nate Pagan says the service industry has borne the brunt of restrictions imposed to limit the spread of the virus.

“The Owensboro City Commission wanted to do a program specifically for restaurant workers, those that have had shifts cut and had a sizable negative impact on their income this year," Pagan said.

Bowling Green Neighborhood & Community Services

The city of Bowling Green is beginning to send out code enforcement officers to assist in monitoring restaurants and bars for compliance with Kentucky's COVID-19 regulations. 

The four officers will serve only in an outreach and education capacity to assist the Barren River District Health Department.

Bowling Green City Manager Jeff Meisel said that will include site visits to provide bars and restaurants with information on requirements for masks, social distancing and outdoor dining.

“A lot of restaurants are trying to still do outdoor dining with putting up some tents and enclosing some areas," said Meisel. "But with that, there are still rules of leaving two sides open and things like that, so there’s air circulating and it doesn’t become indoor dining with a tent.”

facebook/Teresa's Restaurant

As COVID-19 surges across Kentucky, new statewide restrictions prohibiting indoor dining for bars and restaurants go into effect Nov. 20 at 5 p.m. and last through Dec. 13.

One local business impacted by the new restrictions is Teresa's Restaurant, a Bowling Green eatery known for home cooking.

The restrictions during the pandemic have caused financial strain for the popular restaurant and the newest rule that prohibits indoor dining is the last straw, at least until Dec. 13. 

Owner Heather McGuffey said the restaurant has no outdoor dining and a previous attempt at take-out meals during an earlier restriction on indoor dining didn't work out.  So she decided to close Teresa’s when the latest rules go into effect.

J. Tyler Franklin

Gov. Andy Beshear has reinstated numerous public safety restrictions to slow a weeks-long surge of COVID-19 in Kentucky.

The restrictions, which vary in duration from three to six weeks, affect Kentucky’s schools, restaurants and other public spaces. Beshear had been hesitant to implement new orders since COVID-19 cases began to spike in September, despite daily and weekly totals regularly reaching record-breaking levels.

Beshear announced 2,753 new cases Wednesday and said Kentucky’s five worst days have all come in the last week. Then he said it’s “time to take action.”

Ryan Van Velzer

Kentucky restaurants say they can expect to see an immediate loss in customers following the latest round of coronavirus recommendations from Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear, according to the Kentucky Restaurant Association.

Restaurant Association President Stacy Roof she’s disheartened the governor’s office has singled out the restaurant industry, which endured more than $550 million in losses in Kentucky in April alone. Her members are telling her they can see an immediate impact from the governor’s words.

“I’m glad to see that there’s encouragement to get food from restaurants in a carryout way. I’m discouraged by the fine print that kind of says stay out of dining rooms,” Roof said.

GM Bowling Green Assembly Plant

The GM Bowling Green Assembly Plant, which is the only facility in the world to produce the Corvette, has temporarily suspended production due to a parts supply issue.

The plant in Bowling Green, Kentucky, produces the mid-engine Corvette, which was introduced in July 2019 to much acclaim.

"Right now, this week, the week of October 12, we are not running production. So we’re not producing cars," said Rachel Bagshaw, spokesperson for the Bowling Green facility. She said she could not specify which parts caused the delay.

As demands for racial justice play out in Louisville and across the nation, community members from Warren County are tackling racial issues closer to home. 

A new group called Gamechangers is working to bring African-Americans equal opportunities in the local job market.  Attorney Alan Simpson is a member of the group, and says communities can discriminate unintentionally.

“There is systemic racism everywhere. It doesn’t mean everyone is wearing a hood and burning crosses in people’s front yards, but you have to be thoughtful about your actions," Simpson said. "If you want to employ someone who’s African-American, then seek them out. They don’t necessarily come in and apply for a job if they think, 'Well, everyone is white and they’re not going to want me there.'”

J. Tyler Franklin

The Senate is preparing to vote this week on a trimmed-down Republican coronavirus relief package, though it only has a slim chance of passage in the face of Democrats’ insistence for more sweeping aid.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky released the approximately $500 billion measure on Tuesday as senators returned to Washington for an abbreviated pre-election session.

McConnell called the package “a targeted proposal that focuses on several of the most urgent aspects of this crisis." 

“The people who have really been hammered in this pandemic are people who work in the hospitality field for hotels and restaurants," McConnell said during a stop in Bowling Green recently. "Those folks, in the proposal I put together for another round, would get another check for $1,200, to try to lift them.”

Office of Gov. Andy Beshear

Gov. Andy Beshear has ordered Kentucky bars to close and restaurants to go to 25% capacity for two weeks starting Tuesday, Jul. 28 at 5 p.m. to try to curve a rise in cases of COVID-19.

“This is going to hurt a lot of restaurants,” Beshear said Monday. “But the White House’s modeling shows that this is absolutely necessary to control the spread at this time.”

The restrictions do not affect outdoor seating for restaurants.

During his briefing Monday, Beshear said some bar and restaurant-goers have failed to follow guidelines around masks and social distancing. He showed photos of people gathered closely together at Kentucky bars without wearing masks.

Ryland Barton

Gov. Andy Beshear says he will announce further steps on Monday to try to slow the spread of coronavirus in Kentucky. Beshear made the statement shortly after a meeting in which a White House coronavirus adviser recommended that the state close bars and reduce restaurant capacity.

In recent days, Beshear has repeatedly warned that he would take action to close bars and reduce crowds at restaurants if the number of COVID-19 in the state continued to rise.

“I will not let us become an Alabama, a Florida or an Arizona. We’ve got to take proactive steps and that’s what we’re trying to do,” Beshear said on Sunday during a press conference.

Kentucky has reported its highest daily numbers of coronavirus cases over the last week—the highest came last Sunday when there were nearly 1,000 new cases and the second highest came on Saturday.