City of Lexington changing code to help restaurants

Lexington restaurants could soon be able serve in-person dining on streets and parking lots.


LEXINGTON, KY (WTVQ)- Lexington restaurants could soon be able serve in-person dining on streets and parking lots.

Planning is moving fast at J. Render’s Southern Table & Bar. Workers are coming back and soon, so will the usuals, as in-person dining will return May 22.

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“I feel like we’re opening again,” said Owner Gwyn Everly. “I feel like we’re going through all of those first things to get the finishing touches on everything, so that we’re ready to serve the guests.”

Everly said they’re already measuring out space for their patio area to socially distance tables. Inside, the state is limiting capacity to 33 percent, but outside, they can serve as many as they can socially distance.

To further help restaurants, the city is making temporary changes to its code to allow more tables on sidewalks and extend outdoor dining into a parking lot. Officials are even looking at shutting down roads.

“We’ve got to be creative about this,” said Mayor Linda Gorton. “If the restaurants can only have 33 percent of their space occupied, that’s a third.”

Those changes will go into effect for three weeks.

Gorton says they are also planning on asking restaurants near state roads to apply to have a lane shut down.

If there’s enough interest from restaurants, the three-week timeline could be extended.

“We think that the plans that are in place, if they’re followed, it will be very safe to eat out. We want to encourage people to do that,” said Gorton.

Gorton admits these plans are an experiment to help local restaurants and shops.

Every, though, is confident that the plan will help, “I’m already looking forward to a great weekend of seeing people from six feet away and welcoming back to J. Render’s, where they can just hang out and feel a little bit normal.”


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Austin Miller joins ABC 36 Sports Team as a Sports Reporter and Weekend Anchor. Austin is from the Louisville area and graduated from St. Xavier High School in 2008. Austin graduated from Indiana University with a bachelor’s degree in Journalism and a second concentration in German. While at IU, Austin was a blogger at and co-host, producer and engineer for WIUX, the school’s student radio station. Before coming to ABC 36, Austin was a news videographer at WLFI in West Lafayette from 2012-2015. While working with WLFI, Austin had the chance to cover the Purdue Boilermakers. He then accepted a Sports/New Reporter position at Local 4 KSNB-TV in Hastings Nebraska and was eventually promoted to sports full-time as the Weekend Sports Anchor/Reporter. While at KSNB-TV, Austin covered the University of Nebraska, the University of Nebraska-Kearney and Hastings College. After spending nearly six years away from home, Austin is excited to return to the Bluegrass State to cover the teams he grew up watching. In his spare time, Austin enjoys playing basketball, working out and cooking. If you have any story ideas or would like to say “Hello,” you can reach Austin by email at or direct message him on Twitter @AustinMillerTV.