• John McGary, Woodford Sun Editor

The Woodford Club co-owner praises county COVID relief

THE WOODFORD CLUB moved restaurant tables a little further apart after the pandemic began in an effort to reassure patrons that it was safe to dine there. They also began offering takeout and delivery services. (Photo submitted)

When Woodford Fiscal Court approved grants to more than 30 restaurants and bars (see list below) hurt by precautions taken to slow the COVID-19 pandemic Jan. 12, several were receiving local assistance for the first time. Previous COVID-19 relief efforts by the Midway and Versailles city councils, using federal CARES Act funds, went to businesses, restaurants and bars in those city limits. The court’s action set aside up to $7,500 for restaurants and bars in the unincorporated portions of the county. One of those receiving assistance for the first time is The Woodford Club (the former Moss Hill Country Club), which was purchased by Randy Clay and Chet Blackey in April of 2019. Clay and Blackey reopened the restaurant, after several renovations, that summer. “One, it means a commitment from the community to support the restaurant business here in Woodford County, and I think that’s critical,” Clay said of the $7,500 The Woodford Club was given. “Obviously, it helps with our expenses. Any additional dollars are always welcome.” Clay said last March, early in the pandemic, The Woodford Club, which is located at 3495 McCowans Ferry Road, began offering take-out and delivery service. “We thought at the time, it would only be for a few weeks, and then as it got more intense and more severe and we were limited by the state in what we could do as far as diners, we had to … rethink what we have to offer. We have plenty of outdoor seating space, so that became very popular and we’ve got three unique dining areas,” Clay said. Tables were moved further apart to increase safety and lessen diners’ fears, but Clay said he realized some people still feel uneasy about eating inside. “We’re just trying to adapt; we’re trying to … get a gauge on where people are,” Clay said. “You think one weekend’s going to be bad, only to see it’s good, because people are eating out. The eating patterns are hard to gauge; nothing’s normal.” Clay said last Sunday, a group of 14 firefighters came for lunch and had the main dining room to themselves. “We’re fortunate to have that kind of space, which we know a lot of restaurants in our community don’t …” Clay said. Clay and Blackey spent a good deal of time and money renovating and restoring The Woodford Club’s restaurant, golf course and other offerings. Ten months after the beginning of the one thing they couldn’t have foreseen, Clay said they have a lot of hopes and plans for a very active season this year. “I would say, certainly with our clientele, we have a group that understands the severity of (the pandemic). In our community, we have not had a big outbreak … with both members and people who come out to patronize it, so knock on wood – we feel like we’re very fortunate in that regard,” he said.

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