KANSAS CITY, MO (KCTV) -- Despite an ongoing pandemic that has killed at least 5,326 Kansans and Missourians, Kansas City area bars are expecting a lot of people out on the town to celebrate the Thanksgiving holiday.

The Wednesday before Thanksgiving — sometimes referred to as Drinksgiving or Blackout Wednesday — is a famously busy day for bars. But this year comes with new rules amid the pandemic.

At Chicken N Pickle in Kansas City, MO, they are having to turn some customers away from their pop-up Christmas bar "Snowbound" because the reservations filled up so quickly.

Bars like Chicken N Pickle in Kansas City and in counties with similar restrictions have to follow guidelines on occupancy and be closed by 10 p.m. Because of these early closing times, many local bars are expecting to see an increase of foot traffic earlier in the evening on Wednesday.

Kansas City is also a home hub for a lot of college students who live in the metro, but attend classes in Lawrence at University of Kansas or in Columbia at the University of Missouri. Many of those students are expected to come home to the area for Thanksgiving and potentially flock to the bars and the KC nightlife.

Dr. Ginny Bows of St. Luke's, though, warns against that influx of traffic, because she said the virus does not discriminate.

"We see people that are very healthy one day and that with the virus, become very ill," she said. "It's really a time to be taking a hardline approach."

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