Independence also relaxes COVID-19 restrictions for restaurants, bars events and more

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INDEPENDENCE, Mo. — The city of Independence has updated its health orders to reduce COVID-19 restrictions on businesses, restaurants and bars, events and more.

Mayor Eileen Weir announced Friday that the new COVID-19 rules will go into effect at midnight on Saturday, Feb. 20.

Independence’s updated guidelines include:

Bars, restaurants and taverns can resume normal hours, as permitted by their liquor license.

Indoor and outdoor dining is limited to 50% capacity, but there is no limit on the size of patrons or parties.

All gathering limits for faith services have been relaxed. Faith organizations are not required to submit a gathering protocol form anymore, but the city is asking these groups to continue to voluntarily wear masks, practice social distancing and regularly wash hands and surfaces.

Entertainment and recreational venues also no longer have to submit gathering protocol forms, but still have to maintain 50% capacity. If these venues want to have more than 50% capacity, they can submit the protocol form to the health department for consideration.

The city still has a mask order in effect for all indoor public spaces.

“Thanks to the consistent actions of our businesses and citizens, we have seen a decline in regional cases and hospitalizations related to COVID-19,” Weir said in a statement. “It is important to note we are not yet out of the woods and must continue to wear masks, social distance, wash our hands and stay home if we are sick.”

“We are today taking steps to relax capacity limitations on religious gatherings, weddings, funerals and dining. We are carefully monitoring the situation and will provide further updates as needed.”

Under the new orders, businesses are responsible for monitoring and complying with social distancing requirements. Those that don’t comply could receive a 9 p.m. curfew restriction, have their business license or permits suspended or revoked, have charges filed and/or have utilities turned off, the city said.

Kansas City also relaxed its COVID-19 restrictions on Friday; however, the two cities’ new orders differ slightly. For example, Kansas City will no longer limit capacity at bars and restaurants to 50%, but it is still requiring social distancing.

Jackson County officials said Friday they are “evaluating” their COVID-19 health restrictions, but any changes are not expected for about another week.

Independence has its own health department, separate from Jackson County, so it can have different restrictions within its jurisdiction.

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