KANSAS CITY, MO (KCTV)— After nearly 2,500 complaints, Kansas City Missouri Health Department officials say the first business to refuse to comply with the city’s mask mandate is shutdown.
The health department suspended the certificate of occupancy for a U-Haul location off Blue Ridge Blvd near 71 Highway.
In Kansas City, anyone indoors, including employees, visitors and customers, must wear a mask or face covering during the now-extended emergency order.
At the cited U-Haul location off Blue Ridge Blvd, health department officials say the on-site manager and employees refused to do so, even after the department informed them about complaints.
Health department field staff report that they visited the U-Haul location to investigate complaints and educate staff on how to properly comply with the mask order.
Kansas City Missouri Health Department Senior Public Health Manager Naser Jouhari said those visits were not taken seriously by the business.
“They flat out told us they will not respond and this whole thing is a joke,” he said. “This is the first one we suspended their certificate of occupancy.”
Jouhari says the department is tasked with enforcing the emergency order, adding that while investigating the nearly 2,500 other complaints, business owners agreed to comply.
“This is not a fun job for us. Believe me, we are not enjoying this,” he told KCTV5 News. “We have to do it to make sure that we curb the increase in the number of cases in Kansas City.”
Without a certificate of occupancy, the U-Haul building off Blue Ridge Blvd cannot be used or occupied until further written notice and the certificate of occupancy has been reinstated.
KCTV5 News asked U-Haul for comment and received a written statement from U-Haul Company of Southern Kansas President Aaron Krueger that said in part, “U-Haul has communicated with the city regarding the actions of some of its Team Members at the Truman Corners location. U-Haul has submitted a comprehensive compliance plan on behalf of this store. We have taken steps internally to ensure that all current mandates are met here.”
Several community members say that while they don’t want to see businesses closed during hard economic times, they do want business owners and employees to follow the mask order.
KCTV5 News did see employees at the location Wednesday. A spokesperson for U-Haul says they got approval from a city inspector to operate outside on their lot to serve self-move customers. Staff said a meeting will be held to discuss a compliance plan.