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Kansas City Orders Guitar Center Facility To Close After It Defied Stay-At-Home Order

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The Guitar Center distribution center in Kansas City's Northland shut down Thursday after receiving warnings from the city.

A large Kansas City musical instrument distribution center that had remained open despite a stay-at-home order permitting only “essential” businesses to operate during the COVID-19 pandemic has now shut down.

The 700,000-square-foot Guitar Center warehouse in the Northland closed after Kansas City code enforcement personnel, accompanied by Kansas City police, showed up to enforce Mayor Quinton Lucas’ order.

Bill Snook, a spokesman for the Kansas City Health Department, told KCUR that the closure took place after the person in charge of the distribution center contacted a Guitar Center executive, who agreed to comply with the order.

“The business is currently closed and is in compliance” with the mayor’s stay-at-home order, Snook said in an email.

The distribution center employs about three hundred people in three shifts to fulfill online orders for musical instruments and musical gear.

Guitar Center officials could not be reached for comment.

The facility, formerly known as Musician’s Friend, had contended it met guidelines defining an essential business, although it didn’t specify how. It also said the facility was highly automated, cleaned frequently and staffed so as to maintain the six-foot social distancing recommended by health experts.

After KCUR made inquiries two weeks ago, Kansas City spokesman Chris Hernandez suggested the warehouse did not qualify as an essential business and said that people who had concerns about it should call the city’s 311 line to register their complaints.

Kansas City’s stay-at-home order took effect after midnight on Tuesday, March 24. The distribution center had remained open since then.

The center’s decision to close came after it had received two previous warnings from the city, Snook said.

Dan Margolies is a senior reporter and editor at KCUR. You can reach him on Twitter @DanMargolies.

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