May 9, 2021

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Plaza’s O’Dowd’s sues Kansas Town over COVID-19 restrictions

O’Dowd’s Gastrobar on the Country Club Plaza is suing Kansas Town Mayor Quinton Lucas, seeking to overturn COVID-19 limitations on bars and restaurants.

The suit was filed Thursday in the Circuit Court docket of Jackson County by Kansas Town attorney Michael Gunter, who earlier submitted one more COVID-19 match against the metropolis.

The homeowners of O’Dowd’s, at 4742 Pennsylvania Ave., claimed they are very well knowledgeable that the COVID-19 pandemic has induced loss of life and pain to millions and will go on to do so, but it also is making a “vast financial reduction of great proportions.”

Beneath the mayor’s newest limitations on bars and eating places, O’Dowd’s stated it has been forced to near temporarily for the reason that it can not create plenty of profits to spend rent and utilities, suppliers, staff and other operating fees.

In the lawsuit, O’Dowd’s suggests large organizations, this kind of as casinos, have not experienced the very same restrictions. They also have accessibility to more money than smaller, locally owned corporations. O’Dowd’s argues that other Kansas City functions are permitted to keep open up later to serve food and consume, this kind of as ease merchants. And it suggests the mayor doesn’t have the authorized authority to difficulty the orders.

O’Dowd’s is a person of KC Hopps Ltd.’s cafe ideas. In a statement, Ed Nelson of KC Hopps explained: “We feel the lawsuit speaks for alone. We want owing process as necessary by the regulation and we want the policies to be truthful for all companies, even people modest types like us that don’t have tens of millions of dollars to shell out lobbyists and lawyers.”

In a assertion, Lucas said Kansas City has designed its COVID procedures dependent on “data-pushed assistance from well being and scientific leaders from the White Property and CDC down to our Overall health Division.”

“The O’Dowd’s lawsuit is with no benefit underneath Missouri legislation just like the fits submitted towards us ahead of,” Lucas reported. “As it has been because the onset of this pandemic, our primary objective is to help you save lives.”

Lucas reported the city’s policies and own actions — together with carrying masks, avoiding crowds and washing fingers — have resulted in a drop in conditions. The purpose, he mentioned, is to continue to keep minimizing scenarios and finding a lot more inhabitants vaccinated.

New COVID-19 cases in the Kansas City metropolitan area recently dropped to less than 300 for the initial time in additional than three months. The seven-day average for day-to-day new instances dropped to 464. 1 week back, the common sat at 580, and two months back it was 698, according to information preserved by The Star.

Immediately after an Oct. 24 inspection, the Kansas Town Wellbeing Department briefly suspended the O’Dowd’s license for “over 50% capability and absence of mask use.” The proprietors submitted a corrective motion program to the office and mentioned they had been doing work with the city on a approach to reopen and function safely for their shoppers and workers.

But they before long posted a signal on the door of the restaurant, expressing with the new constraints they planned to shut until finally spring.

“Please ask your senator and consultant to go another round of PPP loans and prolonged unemployment rewards to support the thousands of businesses and personnel irreparably harmed thanks to no fault of their have,” O’Dowd’s mentioned.

The Blue Line, a hockey-themed bar in the city’s River Market neighborhood, sued in November, proclaiming a 10 p.m. curfew Kansas Metropolis had in position at the time was unlawful. The bar’s house owners wished the town to allow them to open for regular hrs during the holiday break year, arguing the organization will make 40% of its profits involving 10 p.m. and 3 a.m.

“Restaurants this sort of as plaintiff’s have struggled via numerous of the orders and the COVID-19 epidemic in general with remaining requested to shut totally, to then becoming authorized to reopen via seating restrictions, triggering reduction of earnings to not only the company but revenue to plaintiff’s staff members,” the Blue Line petition says. Gunter also filed that lawsuit.

On Monday, the mayor said he “takes no enjoyment in imposing mandates,” but the town is in an “extraordinary” situation.

“And we confident as hell aren’t backing down or transforming course thanks to dread of a lawsuit submitted by the exact same lawyer who couldn’t hassle to spell my identify appropriate in the final lawsuit he submitted from me more than our COVID guidelines,” Lucas explained.

The get-togethers canceled a hearing on a non permanent restraining get the Blue Line requested, hoping to swiftly undo Lucas’ curfew. But the lawsuit is nevertheless pending.

That 10 p.m. curfew went into outcome in mid-November, and Lucas argued it was essential to keep substantial late-night time crowds from spreading COVID-19 during the holiday seasons. But the city has due to the fact comfortable that curfew to midnight.

Bars and eating places in Kansas City are nonetheless constrained to serving 50% of their standard capacity and get-togethers of no extra than 10 people. Staff members and patrons are required to have on masks at all times unless actively consuming or ingesting.

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Joyce Smith has included restaurant and retail news for The Star because 1989 underneath the brand name Cityscape. She appreciates information strategies.