KANSAS CITY, Mo. — At 12:01 a.m. Friday, Kansas City’s new COVID-19 guidelines go into effect. They are backed by serious penalties. Enforcing it is easier said than done.
Administrators at the Kansas City Health Department have already received hundreds of complaints and 120 waiver requests in just three weeks.
Mayor Quinton Lucas said they expected to see a large number.
“We know there will be a significant volume. We will do our best to get through them. Our job is to make sure that people are safe. We don’t get to just say, ‘Administration is a challenge,’ to add coming up with rules that can make Kansas City and safer long-term.” Lucas said.
If the backlog grows, some events asking to be exempt may not get the answers they need in time.
If organizers hold events anyway, it would violate city mandates and event organizers will be subject to the following penalties:
- Fines from $25-$500
- Jail time from 1 day to 6 months
- Business operations suspended
- Business licenses revoked
On Monday, Lucas said investigators at the Kansas City Health Department will issue citations, and the police and fire departments will help.
They will respond to calls of potential violations but also conduct spot checks.
“Some of it might be calls some of it might be inspection. That is consistent with local government. That is why it’s important to have the police department, the fire department, others that are out naturally more,” Lucas said.
However, Sgt. Jake Becchina with the Kansas City Police department said something very different.
“As it pertains to COVID-specific things, we are not going to be out looking for violations and trying to find people and forcing our way into houses and counting the number of people. None of that is going to happen.“ Becchina said.
Becchina said they plan to assist on these checks only in order to ensure that everyone remains peaceful, not to actually enforce the mandates.
If you have an upcoming event that violates the guidelines, health department officials urge you to submit your waiver form as early as possible. You have to submit it at least seven days before your event.