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With Updated COVID-19 Order, Kansas City Mayor Eases Restrictions On Bars, Restaurants

021921_cm_COVIDRestrictions
Carlos Moreno/KCUR 89.3
Kansas City Mayor Quinton Lucas announces looser COVID-19 restrictions due to falling infection rates during a press conferences at City Hall on Friday.

Kansas City bars and restaurants will no longer be forced to close at midnight, but mask and social distancing requirements remain.

Early-morning drinks in Kansas City are back on the menu.

Kansas City Mayor Quinton Lucas is easing restrictions on the city's bars and restaurants after seeing declines in COVID-19 rates.

Starting Friday night, city establishments can stay open as late as their liquor license allows.

In November, the mayor ordered establishments to close at 10 p.m. but last month, he pushed it back to midnight.

Capacity limits are also gone under the latest iteration of the city's COVID-19 emergency order. So is the 10-person limit on indoor gatherings.

Patrons are still required to wear masks when not actively eating or drinking and social distancing requirements, such as keeping tables six feet apart, remain unchanged — which means some businesses' capacity may still be limited.

"We've gotten through Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year's, Chiefs' Super Bowl run," Lucas said at a news conference Friday.

"We said (in November) that these restrictions were meant to get us through a very tough moment. And they did, because the cases are hovering right below where they were in early October."

Lucas said COVID-19 cases and deaths have been trending downward in Kansas City for 10 weeks, and are lower than in other parts of the region.

Also on Friday, officials announced some fans will be allowed to watch the Big 12 men's and women's basketball tournaments in person.

Kathy Nelson, who heads the Kansas City Sports Commission, said venues will be limited to 20% capacity.

The men's tournament is scheduled for March 10-13 at the T-Mobile Center, with the women's set for March 11-14 at Municipal Auditorium.

There will not be a fan fest on Grand Boulevard, or pep rallies in the Power and Light District.

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