‘It is alarming’: Bars, restaurants along 39th Street accused of violating social distancing

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. — After the death of a popular bartender, neighbors are raising concerns about large gatherings on W. 39th Street and the lack of social distancing and masks.

“When we walk past, we cross the street because there are so many people there, and we don’t feel safe with the density of folks. It has not been our favorite watching all that happen,” said Amy Carlson, who lives in the area.

Carlson said she has watched the crowd gradually grow for weeks, and people blatantly ignore social distancing guidelines.

“They stand outside and everything, but most people don’t wear their masks, they are just gathering together,” said Omar Fierros, who also lives nearby. “It is alarming.”

When FOX4 stopped by Tuesday afternoon, we noticed all the customers were spaced out, wearing masks as they entered, and employees were continuously wiping down surfaces.

A Kansas City health order requires restaurants to space out tables and frequently sanitize, among other precautions. Employees have to wear masks, and customers do too when they aren’t actively eating or drinking.

Neighbors say the crowds often are seen later at night and on weekends.

“I don’t know. Honestly I don’t know how they can do better. If you’re drinking, obviously you can’t drink with a mask on. I just want to see everybody safe,” Carlson said.

Sean Sobol, part of Krown Concepts who owns Mo-Brew and Drunken Worm, said they are taking all the necessary precautions to keep people safe, including using disposable utensils and no-touch menus, and enforcement of guidelines inside.

He said there’s only so much that can be done to control the foot traffic outside the bars, which some believe is the problem.

Drunken Worm was only closed once for precautionary measures after an employee tested positive.

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