KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Restaurants in the Kansas City, Missouri area got a taste of freedom on Friday with the city’s revised COVID-19 emergency order coming into effect.
Gone are the one-year capacity restrictions and social distancing requirements, giving restaurateurs more freedom to accommodate more people.
It’s a moment many restaurateurs anticipate in the midst of a tough year for the industry.
âIt’s going to be great to see people walk through our doors regularly with smiles on their faces, once again patronizing our businesses,â said David Lopez, president of the Greater Kansas City Restaurant Association, âpeople who aren’t with us for a while, so it’s very exciting. “
Skyler Galvin, a Friday customer at District Pour House and Kitchen, said it was a day she was also anxious about.
âI’m so ready to go out,â Galvin said. “I got stuck at home so it’s great.”
Lopez said that if there are no more capacity restrictions, many restaurants will pay attention to how they greet customers.
âAfter talking to a lot of restaurateurs and general managers from all over town, we’re just going to gently get ourselves into this situation, so people can feel right at home again,â Lopez said. “Yes, we are able to do that. At full capacity, but we want people to feel safe, we want them to feel comfortable.”
On Friday, some patrons at KCMO’s restaurant said they could tell the staff were doing all they could to follow security protocols.
âYou feel safe and everyone wears their masks when they walk in,â said Nyla Foster. “It also feels good for us to be able to be with friends, eat and enjoy Kansas City.”
Lopez, who is also the general manager of Mexican restaurant Manny, thanked city leaders, including Mayor Quinton Lucas and city manager Brian Platt, for their work with the Greater Kansas City Restaurant Association to create compromises so that restaurants can keep their doors open.
âWe’ve worked really, really, really hard to compromise and we’ve worked together to keep our doors revolving for now, all for today, so people can just feel good and come back to our businesses again. Lopez said.
When Lucas announced the relaxed order on Monday, he said it was similar to the order in place last summer, and he hopes it will help some of the small businesses that have struggled during the pandemic.
âOur industry has been through so much, and the way we’ve come together to help all of us as restaurateurs and small businesses is what makes Kansas City so special and unique,â ââsaid Lopez.
KCMO’s new emergency order – which has been mirrored in Clay, Jackson, Platte and Wyandotte counties – runs until May 28. It always requires masks to be worn indoors, except when actively eating or drinking.