KANSAS CITY, MO (KCTV) -- The National Restaurant Association published research this week backing the trends we’re seeing locally. It says 4 out of 5 restaurants are understaffed.

This weekend, a handful of Kansas City restaurants shut down for a few days for various reasons, many related to Covid-19.

Brent Gunnels is the chef and partner of Clay and Fire, which closed for the entire weekend.

“We’re not going to be that busy, so we’ll shut down,” Gunnels said. “We’ll just clean everything, sanitize everything, make it as safe as possible for everybody to come in and have a fresh reset for the beginning of the year.”

Clay and Fire was going to let the coals burn out to give their staff a break during their slow season. A rise in Covid-19 cases among service industry staff made the decision easy.

Bars like the Belfry posted a sign on the door saying their small team is sick.

Il Lazzarone pizzeria along the Streetcar route shutdown to stay safe this weekend too.

“You know, it’s an evolution,” Gunnels said. “It’s always is an evolution.”

For small businesses, missing even one part of their team makes a difference in the final product.

“We don’t have one sole role here,” Gunnels said. “We share responsibility because we all come together as a team and we’re all moving toward the same goal. Making this warming, welcoming place that people want to come to.”

Gunnels hopes when people feel comfortable to head out, they won’t have to walk by empty restaurants to find what they’re looking for.

“I think a lot of people are very supportive of restaurants that have to take those steps in order to assure the public is safe,” he said. “Actually with that, I think you gain more respect.”

The restaurants mentioned in this article plan to be open by next weekend, just in time for Kansas City Restaurant Week.

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