Restaurants serve diners in tents to keep from closing and furloughing staff

Published: Nov. 23, 2020 at 6:34 PM EST
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BOWLING GREEN, Ky. (WBKO) - Indoor dining has been closed for the fourth night. However, some restaurants are putting up tents and serving people in there.

Mellow Mushroom, O’Charleys, Hilligans and Smokey Bones Bar and Grill are several local restaurants in Bowling Green that are still offering dine-in services inside tents placed outside their restaurants.

“We were worried about it all happening again like it did the first of the year and everyone going back on furlough,” said Casey Turner, General Manager of Smokey Bones Bar and Grill. “We don’t want to have to furlough any more of our servers right before the holidays.”

The outdoor tents are helping some restaurants stay afloat during an already financially tumultuous time.

“And everyone’s got kids and families to take care of, so we want to make sure that our staff was not put in harm anymore, and be hurt financially. We’re trying to keep them on as long as we possibly can.”

Some might wonder what the difference between eating inside a building versus inside a tent. Barren River District Health Department says to qualify as outdoor seating, an establishment has to have two sides of the tent open and socially distant tables.

Smokey Bones in Bowling Green has 14 tables under its tent that they are renting.

“Which is about 60 people altogether,” said Turner. “We have them all spaced out in accordance with the CDC guidelines as well.”

The health department says they are offering guidance to local restaurants; however, there is not any enforcement in place.

“We want Bowling Green people to be able to come out and say that we are doing this for them as well as our staff. "

The current executive order is in place through December 13.

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