Following news of Kentucky’s first confirmed coronavirus-related death earlier this week — a 66-year-old Bourbon County man with underlying health issues — Gov. Andy Beshear closed dine-in services at restaurants and bars across the state. The order took effect 5 p.m. Monday.

When making the announcement during an afternoon news conference, Beshear called his order a difficult and necessary step and acknowledged the financial blow it would have on the state’s restaurant industry.

“It’s not lost on me that most of these are small businesses,” he said. “But we have to take the steps to make sure that we are protecting our people and this is a necessary one.”

Another of the ongoing efforts to contain the spread of COVID-19 by distancing ourselves from one another, the closure of dine-in restaurant service shouldn’t come as a surprise. Kentucky is one of at least 15 states to take such action.

Some here at home will bemoan the closures as another inconvenient disruption to our lives before the novel coronoavirus. Still others might allow the order to heighten their health fear, causing further irrational behavior such as all the hording ravaging grocery shelves of everything from toilet paper to ground beef.

But there is a much more appropriate reaction we all can take. How about rallying behind our local restaurants to help them stay in business and their employees remain on the payroll.

Quick-serve locations continue to operate drive-through windows. Other local and area table-service restaurants remain open for take-out service. Many continue regular home delivery service or have taken steps to provide it.

If you have a regular evening table at one of our local establishments, endeavor to continue your patronage by carry-out. If your noon-hour lunch break includes stopping by a local quick-serve counter, continue to frequent the business by way of its drive-thru menu board. If you’re a dashboard diner in your vehicle, don’t break the habit because of the current restriction.

As many others have suggested, consider the purchase of a restaurant gift card for use later when restrictions are lifted or buy a coupon book to give a work-displaced neighbor or senior citizen who could use it.

Yes, the drive-through lines might be long and the wait for carry-out, curbside or doorstep delivery might be a bit longer than you wish. But continued patronage and patience will help keep this portion of our local economy turning.

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