KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Five Kansas City, Missouri, businesses were shut down over the Thanksgiving weekend for violating COVID-19 restrictions, including one that resulted in a police presence.
Henry C. Service, who owns The Corner Bar and Grill in the 18th and Vine District, said he believes he was unfairly targeted.
"They’re going to put us out of business because we didn't move quick enough," Service told 41 Action News on Monday.
About 80 people were watching the Kansas City Chiefs game at Service's establishment Sunday when the health department showed up on a complaint of a large gathering.
"Maybe there were people standing up, but we were walking around and actively policing people and telling them to put their masks on and pull their masks up," Service said.
But the investigator called for backup, including KCPD, and the health department said in a news release that Service "initially refused to cease operation."
"We stopped the music, we shut down like they asked us to, but there were open tabs," Service said. "It's not an instant thing. We couldn't snap our fingers and get people out of the door."
The COVID-19 enforcement team shut down four other businesses over the Thanksgiving weekend for staying open past 10 p.m.
- IHOP, 4149 Sterling Ave.
- Club 31, 927 E. 85th Street.
- Taqueria Mexico #1, 91 Southwest Blvd.
- Charritos Taqueria, 3831 Independence Ave.
Franciso Cortez, owner of Charritos Tacqueria, told 41 Action News there were two families eating at his restaurant Saturday at 10:30 p.m. when enforcement officers showed up to explain that wasn't OK.
He said he understands why the restrictions are in place, but he doesn't understand why others like food carts on the avenue can stay late at night.
The health department has allowed Charritos Tacqueria and the IHOP on Sterling Avenue to reopen.
Service said he hopes his day will come soon.
"We're doing everything we can to not starve and to help with COVID, but we're going broke," he said, "and people need to eat and so we have to we have to continue to run our restaurants."
According to the health department, Service must attend an informal hearing before his business permit can be reinstated. The other four businesses must submit a compliance plan to the health department to reopen.
Abdul Hamideh, president of the Sterling Avenue IHOP location, said in a statement that a compliance plan had been submitted to the health department at 12:30 p.m. Monday. It has since been accepted.
“Thereafter, we opened our dining rooms. We apologize for any confusion this may have caused, and we will be working closely with the KCMO Health Department moving forward to adhere to all local guidelines," Hamideh said in the statement. "Our highest priority is ensuring the safety of our guests and team members, and we look forward to welcoming our guests back.”