KANSAS CITY, MO (KCTV) – Non-essential businesses in Kansas City get to open on May 15 with some intense restrictions. Be ready for things to look way different at your favorite restaurant.
Brookside’s Charlie Hooper’s adapted when things went take-out and delivery only. They set up stations for delivery services to cut down on direct contact with drivers. The staff are already wearing masks and gloves. They’ve got seven sanitizer stations and they’ve been considering their options for changing table service once dine-in is allowed on May 15.
“We are fine with spacing out tables. We’re fine with adding guards between booths. We’re fine with single use items being served to you instead of having condiments on the table. We’re thinking about all these ways that we can keep our customers safe,” Charlie Hooper’s General Manager George Clarke said.
The general announcement on phase 1 has him and other restaurant groups worried. The 10-10-10 rule Kansas City Mayor Quinton Lucas described on Wednesday means 10% capacity or 10 people, whichever is higher, including all the staff, at all businesses.
But on follow-up KCTV5 News learned from the mayor’s office that capacity rules for restaurants will likely be different, separating numbers in the kitchen from those in the dining room. Those rules are still being ironed out by the health department.
A few things we know for sure about how your dining experience will change is that you’ll see a lot of empty tables, your servers will have masks and gloves, and before you take a seat, you’ll have to give your name and phone number, check in time and check out time, for the restaurant to submit for contact tracing in case someone later tests positive.
It’s a rule that, under this current plan, applies to any situation where someone is in a business for more than 10 minutes.
“We’ve never had a host or hostess at Charlie Hooper’s so that will definitely be something that changes,” Clarke said.
Niecie’s located at 64th and Troost, where plexiglass is set up at the register, the contact tracing list won’t be a hurdle. They’re already working on a system for servers to keep track.
“Most of our servers know our customers anyway,” Niecie’s Owner Denise Hayes-Ward said.
But they still don’t plan to start seating the moment it’s allowed. Not because they think the rules are too strict, but because they want to be more strict and cautious.
“We got an older group of ladies here. All of us in up in that age. We want to be really really careful about just bum rushing people in here. We want to wait a couple of weeks to look and see how the city is doing before we open our doors,” Hayes-Ward said.
They’re eyeing June 1 for dine-in and will continue doing curbside even after then.
The health department says they expect to have the restaurant-specific rules out next week. KCTV5 News asked about buffets and they don’t have an answer on that yet.
All businesses will have the right to deny service to any customer not wearing a mask, though that’s up to the business to decide.
Indoor social and religious gatherings will be limited to 10 people and if they are outdoors, they are limited to 50 people.
Concert venues aren’t allowed to open yet.
The mayor couldn’t give a date for when things will go full capacity because it will rely on reaching public health benchmarks but he hopes it will happen by the end of summer.