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Legal battle over KY restaurant restrictions could have impacts beyond Friday

Published: Jun. 10, 2021 at 5:18 PM CDT|Updated: Jun. 10, 2021 at 5:56 PM CDT
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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - A legal battle over pandemic restaurant restrictions has now reached the Kentucky Supreme Court. Louisville-based Goodwood Brewing and Dundee Tavern are among the businesses challenging Gov. Andy Beshear, (D) Kentucky.

The conflict began after the state legislature passed bills to limit the governor’s emergency powers, requiring the body’s approval to implement restrictions. Those were vetoed but overridden. Beshear then filed suit in Franklin Circuit Court to regain the authority to implement pandemic emergency policies without the consent of the legislature. The court granted him that ability but following that a Scott Circuit Court determined, in the case involving Goodwood and Dundee tavern, that Beshear would have to follow the laws laid out by the legislature.

Now, the Kentucky Supreme Court is tasked with sorting it all out.

Both sides argue the case still has implications after restrictions are lifted.

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Goodwood Brewing is among the businesses challenging the governor.
Goodwood Brewing is among the businesses challenging the governor.(WAVE 3 News)

Most of the issues that were initially included in the case will likely not matter when COVID measures are lifted Friday, but those involved claim the ruling remains important as its larger impact will be felt well beyond this weekend.

Amy Cubbage, the governor’s general counsel, said if the Scott Circuit injunction is allowed, language in it would declare the public health emergency over. Cubbage added that could impact the state’s ability to receive federal funds and could hurt vaccination efforts.

“The Scott Circuit Court’s order invited a public health catastrophe and pure chaos from a public health and legal perspective,” Cubbage said.

Ted Mitzlaff, the CEO of Goodwood, and his attorney claimed the issue is constitutional, whether a governor should have the authority to proceed as Beshear did, and could come into play if COVID cases see a resurgence.

“Then they shut us down again in November,” Mitzlaff said. “That was the death knell to countless bars and restaurants. They are already struggling, already getting by. That was just a death knell. So, we want to make sure that doesn’t happen again.”

Attorneys said it could be weeks until the Kentucky Supreme Court decides the case.

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