BLUE SPRINGS, Mo. — The Jackson County Health Department has revoked the permit for a Blue Springs restaurant after repeated violations of the county’s mask mandate.
Rae’s Cafe has been deemed an imminent health hazard and ordered to close immediately, the agency said.
But despite losing its food establishment permit, Rae’s Cafe was operating as usual on Friday afternoon and the owner told FOX4 she plans to stay open.
Health officials said they’ve received multiple complaints about the restaurant in the past two weeks. Rae’s Cafe got a warning, two tickets and then a notice that failure to comply with the mask mandate would result in its permit being revoked.
Just Friday morning, three more complaints were submitted, prompting the county to take action.
“Despite our multiple attempts to work with the business to comply, the owner knowingly and willingly continued to violate the health order,” Troy Schulte, Jackson County administrator, said in a statement.
“It is clear by the number of complaints we received that people in our community are concerned about the spread of the virus and are holding others accountable to prevent further pain, sickness and death in our community. Our order is in place to protect public health. We are grateful for those businesses who are doing their part to help us get through this pandemic and will continue to act accordingly for those who are not.”
But Rae’s Cafe owner Amana Wohlett said she and every one of her employees have a medical reason not to wear a mask and are therefore exempt under the county’s mandate. She’s also not asking customers to wear masks.
“The health department came in with the sheriff. I explained to her that we were completely compliant. We are all medically mask exempt, and she still shut me down today and put a note on my door,” Wohlett said.
Still, Wohlett said she plans to stay open as long as she can.
Jackson County legislators have already voted to extend the mask mandate into October. Everyone is required to wear masks while indoors, regardless of vaccination status. It does not apply to Independence, which has its own health department and does not have a mask requirement.
Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt has sued both Jackson County and Kansas City over their mask mandates, but nothing has been decided in court on the matter.
Since the county’s new mask mandate took effect on Aug. 9, the county has received over 500 complaints and issued 86 warnings and 22 tickets.
Throughout the pandemic, Jackson County has revoked permits at two other businesses that didn’t comply with a health order.
People can submit complaints about businesses violating the health order using this online form.