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Local business owner reacts to possible extension of mask mandate in KCMO

KCMO City Council committee
Posted at 2:57 PM, Oct 06, 2021
and last updated 2021-10-06 18:40:00-04

KANSAS CITY, Mo.  — The possible extension of Kansas City, Missouri's mask mandate is disappointing news for some hoping it would expire soon.

On Wednesday, the Transportation, Infrastructure and Operations Committee voted to recommend extending the city's current mask mandate in public spaces until Nov. 4.

"I'm frustrated. It's tough because every time when we had the mask mandate released, we saw this huge jump in business and a lot of people coming out," Joe Zwillenberg, a local business owner, said. "When they put the mask mandate back on, we dropped 25 to 30%."

Zwillenberg owns Westport Flea Market, a restaurant famous for its burgers, and said he has heard from fellow business owners in the city who have heard of customers going to establishments with less restrictions across the state line in Kansas.

Zwillenberg said he will comply with whatever decision the city makes. However, he said he prefers to focus on hamburgers, not policing who's wearing a mask inside his restaurant.

"There are people that are kind of defiant and you know we politely just kind of place a mask out and hopefully they accept it and if they don't, then we say hey look you know, we've got to do this and we try to make it non confrontational," Zwillenberg said.

The business owner is not the only person hoping the mandate would go away.

"I do not want this order to stick around actually after our next order expiration," Kansas City, Missouri, Mayor Quinton Lucas said.

Lucas said he has heard from impacted business owners and sympathizes with their situation. He said there is light at the end of the tunnel.

"I think that we've seen positive progress that we will come to the end of the mask mandate by the end of November," Lucas said.

The mayor warned another spike in COVID-19 cases could lead to future mandate extensions and urged unvaccinated citizens to get the shot.

City Council will vote on whether to extend the mask mandate on Thursday.