LEE’S SUMMIT, Mo. — The Jackson County Health Department continues to ease restrictions, but some businesses say it doesn’t mean much right now.
On Friday afternoon, officials announced they are removing of all capacity and gathering size limits beginning April 9. This includes all essential and nonessential businesses, including gyms, restaurants and bars.
It’s what some believe is another step toward progress and normalcy.
“Over the past year, we have made tremendous strides to combat this pandemic and we don’t want to lose the progress that we’ve made,” Jackson County Executive Frank White Jr. said.
“In order to do that, we must continue to wear face coverings and maintain our distance from others when in public spaces out of respect for those in our community who are waiting to be vaccinated. If we remain diligent in our prevention efforts, we will be one step closer to getting back some normalcy in our daily lives.”
While some of the restrictions are being loosened, the mask mandate and social distancing protocols will remain the same.
Owners of Summit Lanes, a bowling alley in Lee’s Summit, said social distancing prevents them from doing anything different.
“We can’t really social distance and have people not sharing equipment and that sort of thing without still having some capacity limits, unfortunately,” said Sara Strickland, owner of Summit Lanes.
“It is a step in the right direction, but it’s still more steps to go before we are able to get back to what we are used, to, or what I’m used to, especially being in the business for the past 20 years,” Brian Strickland said.
During a normal pre-COVID night, these Summit Lanes owners said they average 100-120 people.
Since restrictions began, they have space for half of that. The new average is around 50-60 people.
“We can put that empty lane in between groups and keep people separated and still have a very family, friendly environment,” Strickland said.
Jackson County’s new order will not affect those within Kansas City limits, which is under the city’s own health order. Kansas City also does not have capacity limits but still requires masks and social distancing.