O’Dowds files lawsuit against Mayor Quinton Lucas over COVID-19 business restrictions

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. — A Kansas City bar is filing a lawsuit against Mayor Quinton Lucas over COVID-19 restrictions.

O’Dowd’s Gastrobar, located on the Country Club Plaza, is seeking to have the restrictions thrown out, arguing that they are arbitrary and not based on science.

The lawsuit argues that small bars and restaurants are unable to pay their bills and the city has offered no financial help. It also argues that the restrictions are unevenly applied.

Attorney Michael Gunter, who represents O’Dowds, argued that Union Station was allowed to hold a “Home for the Holidays Walk Thru Village” where people were not spaced out and says casinos are allowed to stay open later.

“Respondent has produced no scientific evidence that Covid-19 isn’t spread before 10 p.m. in packed areas such as Union Station of Kansas City or full service convenience store locations. It is also an apparent belief of Respondent, not based on any proven science, that Covid-19 will not affect patrons of the two Kansas City casinos after midnight.”

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O’Dowd’s is the second bar to sue over the restrictions. The Blue Line, which is also represented by Gunter, filed a lawsuit in December, but a judge declined to put the emergency orders on hold.

According to court documents, O’Dowd’s was forced to close until spring due to the restrictions causing a loss of income and the inability to open up for outdoor dining during the winter months.

Mayor Lucas responded to the lawsuit in a statement to FOX4.

“The O’Dowd’s lawsuit is without merit under Missouri law just like the suits filed against us before. As it has been since the onset of this pandemic, our primary objective is to save lives. The City has crafted each set of COVID guidelines based on clear, data-driven advice from health and scientific leaders from the White House and CDC down to our Health Department.”

“Due to our COVID guidelines to protect those most vulnerable in our community, and to many making responsible decisions—wearing masks, avoiding large crowds, and practicing basic hygiene—we have seen a steady decline in COVID-19 cases over the past many weeks. Our goal is to see a continued decline in cases and more vaccines getting into Kansas Citians’ arms, so we can slowly and responsibly get to our new normal.”

RELATED: Jackson County extends bar and restaurant hours, following others

“As I have said many times, mayors take no pleasure in imposing mandates, but we are in the most extraordinary of circumstances, and we sure as hell aren’t backing down or changing course due to fear of a lawsuit filed by the same lawyer who couldn’t bother to spell my name right in the last lawsuit he filed against me over our COVID guidelines.”

A hearing for the case has not yet been scheduled in Jackson County civil court.

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