KANSAS CITY, Mo – A popular 18th and Vine District eatery and bar has been shut down and accused of violating COVID-19 safety guidelines.
Henry Service, the owner of The Corner Bar and Grill says his restaurant was visited by the Kansas City Health Department investigators Sunday during a Kansas City Chiefs game and immediately ordered to close.
“We were cited because people were up standing even with masks. The new ordinance says they can’t be up standing, even with masks,” Service said. “I’m not sure we understood that they couldn’t stand at all. You can’t get a whole room of Chiefs fans to stop cheering and getting up and walking around and high- fiving when the Chiefs score.”
Service said since the shutdown, the Historic 18th & Vine District has been a focus for the health department. He said investigators visited his site numerous times and every time he complies.
“We knew they were watching our business, and we took extra special precautions to do everything right,” Service said. “I go down to Westport, I go down to Power and Light just to see how things are going. They are always packed, way more packed than even myself. If I am just doing even what they are doing, I don’t understand how I could be the one to shut down.”
But the Kansas City Health Department made another note after a reported complaint of a large gathering.
In a release, the department says: “When the field supervisor noted multiple violations of the mask and social distancing rules, the owner initially refused to cease operation. The supervisor called for backup, including Kansas City Police. After an hour, the business was closed due to failure to comply with the mayor’s order and interference with the health department investigation.”
The Corner one of five businesses shut down for violating the public health order this holiday weekend across Kansas City including IHOP on Sterling Avenue, Club 31 on E. 85th St., Taqueria Mexico #1 and Charritos Taqueria on Independence Avenue.
The restaurants were cited for violating social distancing and mask wearing and remaining open after 10:30 p.m.
Service says shutting down small and local businesses only hurts the people working more.
“Hurting us, and putting the 20 people working for me out of work isn’t helping anything, it’s just making people worse,” said Service. “It’s clear they are targeting the most vulnerable people. I don’t think the small mom and pops like me, we are small, we are weak. It is easy to get us shut down.”
Service, who is also an attorney must attend an informal hearing to review and discuss permit and order requirements before the business permit can be reinstated.