Photo: On Friday, Diners were correctly seated 10 feet apart at Jess & Jim’s patio. Photo by Kathy Feist
The Grand Reopening
South KC responds to mayor’s new mandate
By Kathy Feist
After Mayor Quinton Lucas announced he would not hold restaurants to his 10 percent capacity rule but would instead mandate tables be 10 feet apart (among other guidelines), like many restaurateurs Mike and Debbie VanNoy, owners of Jess and Jim’s Steakhouse were relieved.
“I will take that rule versus the 10/10/10 one,” said Debbie. “With the 10/10/10 mandate, restaurants could not survive. But with this we can.”
The 10/10/10 rule mandates that nonessential businesses can only allow 10 percent occupancy or 10 people (whichever is greater) inside its premises, including staff. But after complaints were issued by local restaurant owners, Lucas met with members of the Greater Kansas City Restaurant Association and hammered out a new solution that eliminated the occupancy rule. In addition to the 10-foot distancing between tables, it also mandates 6 feet distancing between back to back seating, sanitizing door handles and such every 90 minutes and using disposable menus, among others directives.
Clockwise r-l: Owner Debbie VanNoy at Jess & Jim’s; Miguel Cervantes at Dos de Oros; outdoor dining at Barrios – Red Bridge; and Blue Moose Bar & Grill at Red Bridge. Photos by Kathy Feist
Some restaurants will eliminate seating. VanNoy says Jess and Jim’s will keep booths in place but mark them as unusable. They will incorporate throw-away menus, and as far as sanitizing, they had already begun enforcing a 30-minute rule for door handles and other publicly used areas.
While Jess and Jim’s has a large 300 person capacity, smaller restaurants, such as Martin City Pizza + Taps have their challenges.
“We will be having very limited indoor seating,” says Matt Moore, owner of Martin City Brewing Company and its accompanying restaurants Martin City Pizza and the Martin City Brew Pub. Moore plans to incorporate more outdoor seating. “We plan to put tables down the sidewalks,” says Moore. “The Martin City Sidewalk Cafe!”
Meanwhile JackStack BBQ is opening all its metrowide locations with the exception of Martin City. “We are going to stay drive-thru only in Martin City until the [remodel] project is finished,” says COO Travis Carpenter.
Churches can now open if they comply with the 10/10/10 mandate.
St. Thomas More will begin offering services as early as the week of May 18. “We are excited to be able to offer public Mass once again, albeit in a restricted way in accordance with Kansas City guidelines,” says Father Alex Kreidler. Daily Mass will be held Monday through Friday at 10 percent capacity with families six feet apart; however reservations must be made in advance in order to adhere to the guidelines. Parishioners will be asked to wear face masks, except when receiving Communion (no chalice). “We have the necessary equipment to clean and disinfect the church in between all services,” says Father Kreidler. Masses will continue to be live-streamed.
On the other hand, Pastor Stephen Jones with First Baptist Church of Kansas City says they will continue to stream services on their website and Facebook. “We’ve had a good-sized following on both of these,” he says. “We are considering the idea of streaming our worship services on-line, even when we come back to our sanctuary because we have discovered it to be an excellent tool of outreach and witness.”
Summer camps have proven tricky for many undecided youth organizations. But for the KCMO Parks & Recreation department, day camps will go forward at their participating community centers. They will follow the mayor’s protocol for child care, which mandates that 10 children plus an adult can gather together but separate from other groups of 10. Sanitization rules apply.
Many are opting for a virtual camp however. “We will be doing some cool virtual activities and we hope by mid-summer we can transition to family activities at camp,” says Gina Garvin, spokesperson for the Girl Scout Council of Northeast Kansas and Northwest Missouri. “
Many look forward to the mayor’s next phase for reopening Kansas City, which will take place May 31.