KANSAS CITY, Mo. — New restrictions aimed at cracking down on COVID-19 spread officially started Friday for many parts of the metro. The new rules limit restaurant and bar capacity, set a 10 p.m. closing time, and cap group gathering size.
Businesses fear the rules are cutting further into an already tough bottom line. But many customers don’t think the new measures are enough to put a dent in the rampant spread of COVID-19.
The lunch crowd was light Friday at Granfalloon Restaurant & Bar on the Country Club Plaza, but owner Tim Caniglia said business overall has bounced back the past few months.
“Since June, we’ve actually been pretty steady. We’ve been following the rules, keeping a 6-foot distance, and we’ve actually had enough sales where our employees and everybody can make some money,” Caniglia said.
Now he fears the bottom’s about to drop out again. Kansas City and several surrounding counties are now enforcing new restrictions. Restaurants can only have half capacity and must close their dining rooms early.
“It’s the first time I actually had employees with tears in their eyes because they know they’re not going to make a whole lot of money more,” Caniglia said. “Several are already saying they need to file for unemployment. It’s really — this one’s hit harder than before.”
Father and son Steve and Steven Cox know COVID-19 is dangerous. They have two loved ones sick right now and a dear friend fighting for his life on a ventilator. But neither understand how the new pandemic precautions by local government leaders will make a difference.
“It’s challenging and people are starting to say, ‘Enough, we’re done.’ And I don’t know how you change that,” Steve Cox said.
“Until we get one of these vaccines readily available to everyone, I just don’t know if there’s anything we can do to really slow down,” Steven Cox said.
Meanwhile, Caniglia’s heading into a holiday season without being able to host big parties. He said the restaurant inside won’t change much. Tables will stay spread apart with frequent cleaning.
But this weekend, he’ll be forced to kick out Chiefs fans in the 3rd quarter to comply with new required closing times.
“I think there’s going to be a lot of upset people that will realize this week, after the Chiefs game, how hard, unfair, this is on everybody,” Caniglia said.
During a recent Chiefs weekend, Granfalloon had to turn away more than 50 paying customers because they couldn’t maintain social distancing otherwise.
If there’s one small silver lining, in Kansas City and many surrounding counties, restaurants and bars are allowed to keep serving to-go food and drink orders after 10 p.m.
They’re hoping the community will show the same generosity as during the early part of the pandemic to help keep small businesses afloat.