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Plaza carriage rides adapt amid COVID-19 pandemic to bring holiday cheer

Posted at 9:58 PM, Nov 29, 2020
and last updated 2020-11-29 23:54:40-05

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Right before sunset, horse-drawn carriages emerge on the streets of the Country Club Plaza to be a part of the holiday sights and sounds -- with a few changes.

"We're in the business of making memories for families and traditions," Bobby McGee with Kansas City Carriages told 41 Action News, "and that's what we're continuing to do in a safe and responsible way.

Kansas City Carriages is ensuring that everyone involved in the experience wears a mask and practices social distancing. While they're keeping hand sanitizer in stock, they're not providing blankets this season.

Another change due to the pandemic - strangers won't be able to ride together, only private groups--like families.

"Since it's outside, it's one of those family friendly things and you can make a reservation and not have to deal with a lot of other people and in that sense, I think it's safe," Patrick Mitchell, a driver with Kansas City Carriages, said.

Mitchell has operated a horse-drawn carriage on the Plaza for 10 years and is glad he can do so once again.

"It's been a hard year for the world and we need things that make us smile and sometimes we have to find them," Mitchell said.

This opening weekend was perfect timing for the Johnson family from Lenexa.

"Well, it's her birthday and it's an outdoor activity that works really well," Dee Dee Johnson, who was celebrating her daughter's birthday, said.

The ride putting many, like Mindy Santoyo, in the holiday spirit.

"To feel a sense of normality, you know, to get out where we actually came from Florida," Santoyo said. "So I came to visit family, and it's the only thing I can think of."

Susan Sweeton, who took a carriage ride with her husband, said they need to be as safe as possible.

"If it's wearing a mask or social distancing, we're going to do the best that we can to do that and have a great time," Sweeton said.

For more information, visit the Kansas City Carriages website.