KANSAS CITY, MO – Since the COVID-19 pandemic began, 137,000 people have tested positive for COVID-19 on the subway, including 36,000 in Kansas City, MO.
Friday marked another turning point in the pandemic, as Mayor Quinton Lucas and the Kansas City Health Department spearheaded a drop in cases for easing the city’s Emergency Ordinance.
“I’ve known all along that the Kansas City Guidelines have increased the safety of the people, the safety of Kansas City, and the security of our region,” Mayor Lucas said during a news conference Friday.
The independence will also relax COVID-19 restrictions on restaurants, bars and more
The economic impact of the public health emergency has hit entertainment businesses particularly hard, including restaurants and bars, which are seeing the rollback as a welcome relief.
“Today is really a marker of sorts, I think, to safely say the beginning of the end,” said David Lopez, general manager of Manny’s Mexican restaurant.
“We can actually see it, we can feel it, it’s very exciting to have good news.”
Manny’s quiet, fairly empty dining room replaces what used to be full of people, an energetic, pre-COVID-19 party atmosphere. Limiting capacity, preventing large parties, private events and catering has cut 70% of restaurant profits.
“That is a huge number that fortunately we have been able to endure with the PPP loans in various situations,” said Lopez.
One of the ways Manny’s has kept its doors swinging is to change its business model to focus on execution. The restaurant will resume when it slowly returns to normal feeling.
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Restaurants and bars can stay open and host events after midnight, and there is no limit to the number of people as long as social distancing is possible. The wearing of masks is still required when you are not eating or drinking.
“This is such a huge boost,” said Lopez. “Private dining, events, and catering, it’s a big, big deal.”
Another announcement during the press conference on Friday is also making positive waves. The Big 12 basketball tournament will be held in Kansas City March 10-14, after being canceled some games in the tournament last year. and allows limited fan participation.
The men’s games will be played at the T-Mobile Center and the women’s games at the Municipal Arena. Each venue offers fans up to 20% capacity. The exact number is determined by social distancing guidelines.
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What won’t happen is the usual economic boon and fanfare surrounding the tournament. The Fan Festival on Grand Boulevard and the KCP & L District Cheer Rally will not take place. The Kansas City Big 12 Run will be virtual this year.
“It’s a bit surreal that we’re still at this point, okay, we’re going to play the games, but will we have fans and what about? It’s just bizarre, but we do it and we do it safely, ”said Kathy Nelson, president and CEO of the Kansas City Sports Commission.
“And we’re doing well, and we’re very proud to be back in Kansas City.”
The distribution of the tickets and who can buy them is still to be determined.
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