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KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Mayor Quinton Lucas has announced updated health guidelines that greatly reduce restrictions on events, restaurants, bars and gatherings.

Lucas said restaurants and bars may resume regular hours, no longer needing to close in-person service at midnight. They must still require mask and social distancing rules, which may still limit some capacity.

The City will no longer require events to submit health plans to the health department, he said. Those attending events still must follow mask rules except when seated and actively eating or drinking. Social distancing still applies.

However, there are also no limits on gathering sizes, Lucas said.

He said the previous restrictions were put in place to avoid a deadly surge in coronavirus spread throughout the holidays and the Super Bowl run. At that time, cases were on the rise.

Before now, Kansas City’s emergency order limited gatherings to 10 people and capped bars and restaurants at a 50% capacity. Bars and restaurants also have to close at midnight.

Mayor said since they issued the Safer At Home guidelines, cases have trended down. Those guidelines also started with a 10 p.m. in-person service curfew, mandatory health plan reporting and more. He said, though some have questioned and challenged the City’s policies, the restrictions have made a difference.

“Our guidelines were effective, cases are going down, and now we are working on vaccine distribution in our city,” Lucas said.

Masks have also been mandatory inside of businesses since June.

Kansas City has seen COVID-19 cases decline in recent weeks. As of Feb. 19, the city had a positivity rate of 5.2% over the past seven days, according to the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services. KC ranked 83 out of 112 reporting local municipalities.