EDDYVILLE — Lyon County Judge-Executive Wade White sent an open letter to owners of restaurants and small businesses on Thursday, saying “Guys, I’m with you.”
White’s comments were in response to Gov. Andy Beshear’s announcement Wednesday of renewed restrictions on in-person gatherings at restaurants, schools and event venues.
“I can’t tell you how to run your business or navigate these ridiculous commands from the governor but I trust you all to make the best decisions for your business. While Walmart and Amazon cash in, Governor Andy is going to string you all out in the name of his sugar pill for this virus.”
White said he shares their frustrations, “while government offices shutter their doors and cash paychecks sitting at home on the couch.” He added, “I don’t want the government in my doctor’s office with me any more than I want the governor to tell you how to run your business.”
In an interview later Thursday, White said the data about COVID-19 has not been shared to show that a small business or a small restaurant is a superspreader of the virus. He referred to closing down small businesses, leaving places like Walmart and other big businesses wide open.
“We know how many people congregate in there,” he said. “So, how can you have hundreds congregate in one building and you can’t have just a few congregate in our small restaurants? It’s like the governor is putting a boot on the neck of our small businesses, when he’s already cut the legs out from under them in the last lockdown.”
White said lockdowns didn’t seem to work the first time. He said lockdowns hurt small business, most vulnerable entrepreneurs and businessmen in Kentucky.
“Large business can handle something like this; small business can’t. It has really upset me because I know these people. I know how hard they work. They don’t go home and cash checks. They have to work to put food on their table.”
White added, “I’m lucky. I can go home. I can quarantine myself and I still get paid. So, can the governor. So, the way I look at it is if we’re going to go through this lockdown again, I think the people who choose to lock people down should also not cash their paychecks. Then, they’ll see how important it is for these small businesses and those people who work for them.”
Deb Domke, executive director of the Lake Barkley Chamber of Commerce, believes White made “some great comments.”
“He believes in our community and has both passion and compassion for our small business owners,” Domke said. “Through this whole COVID nightmare we’ve been living, from the beginning, Wade White has supported our small businesses. When the restaurants had to go to outdoor dining, he and the county built picnic tables and loaned them out to restaurants in their parking lots, so they had a place for customers to go.”
She said that when she got the news from the governor’s news conference Wednesday, she reached out to White.
“These restaurants are barely hanging on with decreased capacity, masks, and now to shut them down at this time of the year, when outdoor dining is not an option when it is 32 degrees is devastating. Some of these mom-and-pop restaurants have invested their whole livelihood into these restaurants. They live it day and night. To have it shut down, it’s devastating in all directions. “