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.

J. Tyler Franklin

Gov. Andy Beshear said Thursday the state will consider closing bars, limiting restaurant capacities and starting schools later if Kentucky can’t get its daily caseload of COVID-19 under control.

Beshear began Thursday’s briefing noting that Kentucky has seen some of the highest daily case numbers since the beginning of the pandemic in March. He announced 611 new cases of COVID-19 and seven deaths.

Kentucky has seen record highs in all but one day this week beginning Sunday when state officials announced 979 cases. The state has not yet begun to see the benefits of the governor’s mask mandate, which went into effect 13 days ago.

Updated at 11:34 a.m. ET

New claims for unemployment benefits rose last week for the first time in four months — since March 28 — as states began reimposing lockdown restrictions in an effort to reverse a surge of coronavirus cases.

More than 1.4 million new claims were filed during the week ending July 18, an increase of more than 100,000 over the week before, the Labor Department reported Thursday.

Tom Morris

The COVID-19 pandemic has caused widespread anxiety about what used to be common daily activities, like going to the grocery store and getting a haircut.

Now, Bowling Green area residents are using social media to share information about businesses that are using safety precautions, and others that are not following guidelines for masks or social distancing.

The public Facebook group is called 'Safe Places to Patronize in Bowling Green, KY.'

Retired engineer Tom Morris, who created the group,  said it’s grown to more than 2,500 members in two months.

“Actually, it kind of started on a whim," said Morris. "Somebody had posted something about, you know, it would be nice to know where we can go that’s safe. And I said, ‘Well somebody ought to start a Facebook group about safe places to patronize, you know.’ And I said, ‘Well, heck, I’ll start it'."

Kentucky’s official unemployment rate is trending downward since swelling to more than 15 percent at the height of the coronavirus outbreak. 

June’s jobless rate was 4.3 percent, mirroring the rate recorded for the state one year ago.

Kentucky's current unemployment rate is also much lower than the national average of 11.1 percent. The number of Kentuckians employed in June increased by 28,536 while the number of unemployed decreased by 137,600.

Updated at 5 p.m. ET

Walmart says shoppers must wear masks inside its stores starting Monday — the largest retailer to join a growing list of companies making face covering mandatory across the nation.

Wikimedia Commons

More than 48,000 Kentucky businesses, schools and other organizations received loans from the federal Paycheck Protection Program as of the end of last month, but most of the $5.2 billion awarded in the state went to a small percentage of those businesses.

The loans are intended to help employers weather the coronavirus pandemic and don’t have to be paid back if businesses retain jobs and most of the money is used for payroll.

The U.S. Small Business Administration released data on Monday showing which businesses received the loans by the end of June.