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Coronavirus causes bars to lose green for St. Patrick's Day

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Posted at 11:16 PM, Mar 16, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-17 01:06:58-04

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — On Saint Patrick's Day, many businesses won't see the green they normally do – all because of new mandates in the metro to help stop the coronavirus spread.

"This isn't exactly what we were looking to plan with deal with this year," Joe Speak, assistant director of operations for "Westport Bars" and Johnny Kaw's told 41 Action News.

Less than 12 hours before St. Patrick's Day, bars in Westport started announcing they wouldn't open for business.

"These are the most two important weeks of the year, so the timing couldn't be any more worst for us," Speak said.

He said a majority of his staff at Bridger's, Lotus, Shot Stop Bar and Grill and at Johnny Kaw's locations are part-time, but it doesn't take away the impact the closures will have on them.

"We're going to do everything in our power to get financing in their hands, potentially, and figure out what options they have as we close as well," Speak said, "and it also depends on the options they have available."

He was hopeful they would be able to reassess the situation next Monday.

But then Kansas City, Missouri, along with Jackson, Johnson and Wyandottes counties ordered all restaurants, bars, taverns, clubs and movie theaters to close a minute after midnight for 15 days.

The only exceptions will be for delivery, pick-up and drive-through services like the one Bier Station launched Monday.

"We've been scrambling just to see if we can do whatever we can to create some business," John Couture, owner of Bier Station told 41 Action News.

Some of their customers, like Jessica Garcia, believe the precautions are warranted.

"Just to safe and keep everyone safe like young people ourselves, we're probably going to be fine," she said. "But just think of the people in our lives or interacting with the kids in our lives, the old people in our lives, the immune-compromised people. We don't want to put them at risk just for a little bit of fun. It's not safe or responsible, and it's not worth it at the end of the day."

Kansas City leaders said if a business does not comply with the new mandate, it can face a fine.