KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Mayor Quinton Lucas announced Wednesday that Kansas City bars and restaurants can now stay open until midnight.
This decision comes after a lot of controversy over the previous COVID-19 order, forcing bars and restaurants to close at 10 p.m.
According to Kansas City’s new COVID-19 order, last call is at midnight and anyone in the restaurant or bar can finish their food and drink and leave in a reasonable amount of time. No sales can be rung up after midnight.
That’s welcome news for business owners who have been struggling.
“It’s great, you know. I think it’s been past due,” said Steve Stegall, owner of The Blue Line. “I don’t think we ever should’ve been closed before midnight anyway.”
Stegall said he makes 50% of his monthly income in the hours between 10 p.m. and 3 a.m. Closing down at 10 p.m. almost put him under, and the extra two hours are a big deal.
“Even 10 to midnight is 20% of my money, so we lost that in the last month and a half for what I think there is really no reason because it’s the same people sitting in the same spot,” Stegall said. “But don’t get me wrong, this is small steps, and we are happy to have this midnight. It was a make-or-break situation.”
Tim Caniglia, owner of the Granfalloon, also said the 10 p.m. closing time hurt.
“Right when the 10 o’clock rule went into effect, unfortunately that following Sunday, the Chiefs played the night game and everyone knew the rules,” he said. “So some watched the first half, some people went home and watched the rest, but a lot of people went to Kansas.”
Johnson County has allowed its restaurants and bars to stay open until midnight for the past several months.
Caniglia is glad Kansas City is falling in line with surrounding cities and counties in the region, hoping business lost to Kansas bars will come back across the state line.
Before the 10 p.m. rule, Caniglia’s business was doing OK. He could pay his rent and bills and so could his employees, but shutting down so early hurt.
“So there will be a significant amount of business that will help us out,” Caniglia said. “Not only the business able to pay rent, I’ve got several bartenders that can’t even pay their rent right now.”
KC Health Director Dr. Rex Archer said he’s one of a half-dozen health directors in the metro who recommended the 10 p.m. shutdown. For now, he’s going along with the midnight curfew.
“With the caveat that that doesn’t mean that personally it’s a good thing for people to take that risk,” Archer said. “This is Restaurant Week. Get all the carryout you can, support our restaurants, but don’t do indoor dining. It’s not safe yet.”
Stegall has filed a lawsuit against Kansas City, claiming bars and restaurants have been unfairly targeted, while other businesses like movie theaters and casinos have been allowed to stay open past 10 p.m. Although he’s glad for the extension to midnight, he’s not dropping his lawsuit.
Caniglia is getting creative by starting a weekend brunch at The Granfalloon. He believes the extra hours will add opportunity for him and his staff to make money.