WYANDOTTE COUNTY, Kan. — For the first time in months, the 403 Club kept its doors opened until 2 a.m. Saturday.
“It was steady. A steady clientele, a steady 20 to 15 people in here from the time we opened until the time we closed," Artie Scholes said. "That’s way better than it’s been in a year."
Scholes, who owns the Kansas City, Kansas, pinball bar, said the past year has been a struggle, but this weekend was a turning point.
“Puts a little sliver of light at the end of the tunnel there that hopefully we will return back to everything being OK when most people get vaccinated,” he said.
On Friday, the Unified Government Health Department removed early closing times for bars, restaurants and taverns that had been put in place because of COVID-19.
The decision was made in conjunction with Johnson and Jackson Counties.
Daniel Silva, president of the KCK Chamber of Commerce, said he thinks people are "hanging on by a thread."
“Anything we can do to help businesses keep their doors open and bring people in, in a safe manner, will be beneficial,” Silva said.
Although closing time restrictions were removed, the UG still has mask and social distancing requirements in place. Restaurants and bars also have to abide by a 50% capacity limit.
“We take COVID very seriously," Scholes said. "We’re always wearing a mask, we’re always spaced everything out. The last thing we want is for anyone to get sick.”