Kansas City has issued 200 warnings to businesses, mayor says, but confusion over ‘essential’ continues

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Mayor Quinton Lucas announced on March 30 that the city’s health department had issued 200 letters to businesses that haven’t complied with the “stay-at-home” order, designed to stop the spread of the coronavirus.

“I’ve got a very simple rule of thumb… if you have to ask if your business is essential or not, it likely is not,” Lucas said. “Businesses that need to comply largely need to shut down.”

However, 311 reports show there is still a lot of confusion around what businesses are considered essential. Out of 191 visible cases provided by Kansas City, many complaints were made against businesses that actually are considered essential.

Reported businesses that are considered essential

Some of the most commonly reported businesses have been lawn care business. That includes landscape and garden retailers, lawn and tree service companies and companies that make products for lawn services.

However, these types of businesses are considered essential, regardless of the lines that may form as people stock up on their spring flowers, seeds and more.

Beauty stores are also considered essential. In one case, the resolution stated that the beauty store “provides products for those that work from home.”

Here are some other types of businesses that were reported but considered essential:

  • Scrap yards
  • Dollar stores
  • Warehouses providing outdoor supplies

“Essential businesses really speak to those businesses that keep our communities open, right? That are actually taking care of folks, helping both communities survive and people survive,” Lucas said.

Businesses that have been provided ‘information’

Several resolved cases had the same type of wording. Those businesses, which likely wouldn’t be considered essential under the order, were provided “educational information on social distancing, ill employee restriction, proper handwashing, and sanitization procedures.”

Here’s a list of those types of businesses:

  • Cigar stores
  • Gyms
  • Certain pet grooming businesses
  • CBD stores
  • Music stores
  • A women’s clothing brand

Reports that have not been resolved

  • Multiple pawn shops
  • An airplane tech company
  • A tooling and machining company
  • A country club
  • A daiquiri store
  • Furniture, decoration and appliance stores

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