Jackson County not issuing temporary food permits for now, frustrating some businesses

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RAYTOWN, Mo. — You’re not going to be able to get a permit for food trucks and other temporary food pop-ups in Jackson County for now.

It’s due to a blanket ban on new permits that took effect earlier this month. Jackson County officials said it’s related to stopping the spread of COVID-19.

But some short-order cooks got short notice on the change.

Harp Barbecue has gained regional acclaim for quality and, in the past, has occupied a spot in the parking lot of Crane Brewing.

Its return to the location was supposed to happen Friday, but their schedule was abruptly changed. They posted about the dilemma on social media, referencing that Jackson County had denied their request for a temporary food permit.

“They would not be issuing us any more permits the rest of the year, in effect shutting our business down,” the post on Facebook said.

“The reason they gave was we were not following social distancing protocols. Other than develop the vaccine, I’m really not sure what else we could have done,” the post said.

Crane Brewing co-founder Chris Meyers said he respects Harp Barbecue and is disappointed with the denial of the permit.

“For us it’s just more thinking about him. We know we can keep operating. We’ve had to make changes, but we can do what we’re doing. This is the only way he can run his business is by doing these pop-ups, and so really it’s a gut-punch for him,” Meyers said.

In a statement, Jackson County said their decision to stop issuing temporary food permits takes into account the safety of their inspectors who must be present at the food event.

“When people are eating, they are not wearing masks, which increases the possibility of contracting the virus,” according to a statement from a Jackson County spokesperson.

The county’s decision is also meant to encourage social distancing by discouraging events that may attract 100 people or more.

The statement from Jackson County also said businesses like Harp Barbecue can still obtain “full permits.”

Instead, Harp Barbeque has announced they intend to find another place to sell their food — outside of Jackson County. They’re still trying to figure out where exactly that will be.

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