KANSAS CITY, Mo. — In 2020, Kansas City sports fans went straight from celebrations to cancellations.
Fans watched the Kansas City Chiefs become Super Bowl LIV Champions in the Power and Light District, and followed it up with a parade through downtown.
Shortly after, it was time for Kansas City to host the Big 12 Tournament, which was canceled soon after it started in the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic. Businesses in the Power and Light District were immediately impacted and for longer than expected.
“We’ve seen [businesses in P&L] all branch out and try different things and try new things," said Rachel Waller, director of marketing for Kansas City Power and Light. "It’s been a year of both challenge, but also growth. I see all of our businesses coming out of this stronger because of what they’ve gone through and we’ve gone through together. I’m excited to see that. I really do believe we can all grow from this."
Fluctuating COVID-19 cases over the past year had restaurants and bars making adjustments often to keep up with changing safety guidelines.
As Kansas and Missouri continue with their respective COVID-19 vaccine rollouts, restrictions have loosened and establishments are returning to regular business hours.
As people are eager to move forward, the future is unclear for Kansas City's downtown entertainment district.
“I think everybody wants to be where we were last year, the year before. They want to go to live concerts, they want to be able to go out and visit friends and go to a nice restaurant and not have to wear a mask," Waller said. "I think everybody is working really hard to help us get there. I’m hoping by this time next year, we are back to where we were and people will be able to come down in larger groups and watch the games and we’ll be able to do a fan fest with pep rallies and such."
Playing things "safe this year" is how Waller described Power and Light's next steps, stating the district will do what it can to get back to where it was before the pandemic.