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KC restaurant owners fear possible new COVID-19 restrictions

Towern Tavern inside.jpg
Tower Tavern.jpg
Posted at 5:02 PM, Aug 12, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-12 18:30:48-04

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — With COVID-19 restrictions on restaurants and bars in Kansas City, Missouri, set to expire on Saturday, many business owners are anxious about what could come.

Right now city restaurants and bars are allowed 50% capacity given there's social distancing and people wear face masks unless eating or drinking.

Other cities have recently have enacted stricter regulations to stop the spread of the virus.

In late July, Dr. Deborah Birx, with the White House's COVID-19 task force, recommended putting a 25% capacity limit on indoor dining and ending alcohol consumption at 10 p.m.

"If those two things happen that would be pretty crippling to bars and restaurants," said Grant Naugle, owner of Tower Tavern.

Naugle told 41 Action News that it has been a struggle since the initial closure of restaurants in March.

"We’ve seen a pretty decent decline in business, for sure," Naugle said.

41 Action News reached out to Kansas City, Missouri, Mayor Quinton Lucas' office, but they declined to detail what restrictions would take place.

Bill Teel, executive director of the Greater Kansas City Restaurant Association, said he believes restaurants shouldn't take the blame for the increase in COVID-19 cases.

"Restaurants have kind of been called out as the problem," he said, "but I haven’t really seen any hard data that goes back and shows that any hot spots any outbreaks have really been tied back to a restaurant."

If tougher restriction take place, Teel said he worries about how it will impact even more restaurants closing.

"If we cut back, there will be more that fall by the wayside," Teel said.

It's data from the health department that other city leaders said they should follow to figure out how to best contain the virus.

"I will continue to work with the mayor suggest that we keep everything on the table," said KCMO City Councilman Eric Bunch. "I would hate that we would have to go into further lockdown like what we saw earlier this year, but we have to be realistic about what this is really looking like."

Lucas' office said an announcement could come on Friday about any new possible restrictions.