OLATHE, Kan. — Bars and restaurants in Johnson County, Kansas are bracing for new COVID-19 restrictions starting Monday.
It’s a part of the counties initiative to stop the spread of the coronavirus and prevent another shutdown.
“You have to understand when people come into a bar, they come into a bar to drink and have a good time, and the pandemic is the last thing that’s on their mind,” Mary Armstrong, Double Nickel Bar & Grill Bar Owner, said.
Armstrong is not looking forward to closing her bar early Monday.
“This is our busy time of the year,” Armstrong said. “It’s during the holidays, and people want to escape the holidays.”
Starting Monday, places in Johnson County that serve alcohol have to close at midnight. Double Nickel Bar and Grill normally closes at 2 a.m. everyday.
“They’re not happy about closing down at midnight, but at least we’re not shutdown,” Armstrong said.
Public mass gatherings are limited to 50 people or 50% as well. Schools and places of worship are exempt.
“It won’t affect me except Friday and Saturday night,” Janine Linnell, Jake’s Place Bar Owner, said. “That’s when it’ll hurt me, but there’s other bars that it will hurt them.”
Linnell said she has sympathy for other bar owners.
“I was thinking that I’m actually grateful that we’re not closed again,” Linnell said. “So I’ll take midnight over being closed because that was bad.”
Anyone who wants to hold a public gathering with more than 50 people or 50% capacity can submit a safety plan to the county for consideration. All other businesses must enforce face masks and 6 feet social distancing, with the exception of personal services where social distancing is not possible.
The new restrictions will go into effect Monday and will not end until at least January 31st.