Restaurants in Kansas City, Missouri, welcome return of dine-in customers Friday

Posted at 6:33 AM, May 15, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-15 07:33:28-04

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Diners will notice some significant changes when they eat at a restaurant.

Beginning Friday, restaurants can allow customers to eat in dining rooms in Kansas City, Missouri, for the first time in nearly two months.

Mayor Quinton Lucas announced new guidelines for restaurants Monday as he began to lift stay-at-home orders in place to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Chuck Torres, the general manager of The Well in Waldo, walked 41 Action News through some of the measures the restaurant is taking to keep customers healthy.

  • It moved tables 10 feet apart in the dining room and six feet apart on the patio.
  • All staff members will be wearing masks.
  • The restaurant asks customers to wear masks as much as possible, obviously they’ll have to remove them to eat or drink.
  • The bar will be closed.
  • Customers will order off a single-use, disposable menu, or use a QR code to easily access a digital menu on their smartphones.
  • The restaurant upgraded bathrooms with automatic flushers, automatic soap dispensers and automatic towel dispensers.
  • Customers will have to wait outside or in their cars if their table is not yet ready.
  • The restaurant will give customers the option of signing into an electronic log.
  • “I think the move is necessary. We can’t survive on delivery alone and no restaurant can right now. Our employees need the opportunity to make money as well. I think it’s the right move,” Torres said of reopening with the precautions.

He said he’s thankful the city removed its original limit capping capacity at 10 percent of max occupancy, and is allowing restaurants to seat as many tables as it can while keeping them 10 feet apart.

The mayor’s recommendation that businesses keep a log with contact information of every customer who spends more than 10 minutes inside received some criticism. Lucas argued the information is necessary to contact people who may have been exposed to the coronavirus.

Torres will allow customers at The Well to scan a QR code when they enter the restaurant to pull up an online registration form. He said that way, customers submit their information in a confidential manner and no one can steal their information from a physical piece of paper everyone shares.

“People might feel a little more comfortable participating if they know it’s going to a source that is confidential; their information is not being shared or seen by other people,” Torres explained.

Across town, Fabian Brown is looking forward to having diners at his bakery, Big Momma’s KC.

“When the people are in here, it’s a different atmosphere and everything,” Brown admitted.

His bakery is more catered to carry-out business.

He said business has been coming back slowly but surely. He hopes adding a dine-in option helps keep the positive trend going.

“We got utilities, we got the rent and everything else. I’m trying to get that stable and then maybe I’ll get a couple crumbs,” Brown said with a laugh.