Kansas City’s new COVID-19 health restrictions take effect

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. — If you plan on going out tonight, you won’t be able to stay out late. Starting Friday night, bars and restaurants will be closing earlier than usual.

On a typical Friday night, Westport is buzzing with people hanging out at the bars and clubs until the early morning hours. But Friday night, this place will be a ghost town after 10 p.m. That’s because of the new Kansas City COVID-19 restrictions that go into effect.

Mayor Quinton Lucas announced the new restrictions earlier this week, and Jackson, Wyandotte, Clay and Platte counties followed suit, passing similar measures shortly after.

Beside closing at 10 p.m., bars and restaurants will also be restricted to 50% capacity. Everyone inside must wear a mask unless they are eating or drinking. Restaurants are still allowed to continue with drive-thru, delivery and carry-out services after 10 p.m.

Gyms are also limited to half capacity, and everyone must wear a mask, even when working out. Other indoor gatherings are limited to 10 people.

This is all in response to the recent surge in COVID cases as more people than ever are getting sick. Experts are tracing many of it to younger people out in the community, not taking masks or social distancing seriously.

The city’s health department will respond to complaints, and violators could face a fine and jail time, while business owners could be forced to close and even lose their license. While police will assist health officials with enforcement, they don’t plan to actively search for violations.

“As it pertains to COVID-specific thing, we are not going to be out looking for violations and trying to find people and forcing our way into houses and counting the number of people, Sgt. Jake Becchina, with the Kansas City Police Department, said. “None of that is going to happen.”

The city has an application for waivers of the orders that they will grant for good reasons. That form is on the city’s website. They ask you submit the form at least a week before you plan to host the event.

The new restrictions in Johnson County are a bit looser. Bars and restaurants there won’t close until midnight, and gatherings are limited to 50 people rather than 10. Again, these new restrictions in KC and the surrounding areas start today and end Jan. 16.

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