CORBIN — In an effort to help downtown restaurants in surviving the capacity limitations inside their facilities, the City of Corbin approved the closing of a section of Third Street on Friday morning and tables were distributed along the street shortly after.
The temporary closure was approved for Friday through August 16, when the City can see what the state guidelines are at that time and determine how to move forward.
The street closure was spurred by Gov. Andy Beshear's executive order to limit restaurant capacity to 25 percent inside the business while capacity outside is not limited but must remain at six feet apart. City Commissioners Brandon Shepherd and David Hart and Mayor Suzie Razmus voted in support of the closure, while Commissioners Trent Knuckles and Andrew Pennington were not present at the meeting.
Kristin Smith, owner of The Wrigley Taproom and Eatery in downtown Corbin, was present Friday morning to express her concern and ask the Corbin City Commission to consider creating an entertainment district downtown, which had been discussed in previous city commission meetings.
She also thanked the commission for being timely in response to helping the downtown businesses through the pandemic.
"But we're into another phase," she said.
Smith said she knew there had been consideration of creating an open space and outdoor dining area downtown and she wanted to voice her support in that.
"I think it's crucial that we do that right now," she said. "And when I say right now, I mean as soon as possible. I believe the test that we have been under every decision we have to make is extremely risky as business owners and the decision for you to do this is also risky, I recognize that. But I believe that if we don't do that right now, by winter time we will not have our restaurants and businesses intact like we have had."
She also voiced that she thought alcohol should be allowed in those spaces, noting she realizes there are risks with that, but the restaurant workers are trained to serve responsibly each day.
"I plead to you today to put pen to paper," she said, noting that as business owners they are having to create new business models and plans as the restrictions have caused them to re-evaluate often.
Since Friday's special-called meeting only had the temporary closure on the agenda, that was the only action the City of Corbin could take on Friday.