Kansas City is having a soft reopening next Wednesday – with strong restrictions for some “nonessential” businesses including retail stores and salons. They must limit the number of customers to no more than 10% building occupancy or 10 people – whichever is greater. At a press conference, Kansas City Mayor Quinton Lucas says the businesses must record the contact information of customers who are on site for more than 10 minutes.

“Our goal isn’t actually to see what everybody is doing or to be Big Brother,” says Lucas. “More of our goal and our emphasis on that is to make sure that if there is an outbreak – at a beauty shop, at a barber shop at a church – that our trackers can actually track down everyone, that we can know where an outbreak is, we can address it quickly.”

Religious gatherings, including weddings and funerals, are limited to 10 people for inside events and 50 people outside. People are still supposed to stay at least 6 feet apart and attendees’ contact information must be tracked.

Restaurants, bars, gyms, government buildings and other businesses that draw large crowds must wait to until at least May 15 to reopen. Food service workers and bartenders will be required to wear masks and gloves.

Lucas says Kansas City has added worker protections preventing non-essential businesses reopening next week from firing employees who do not feel safe to return.

“We still encourage everyone to stay at home as much as possible,” he says. “We still encourage everyone who can telework to do so – at least through the period of May 15.”

State data shows that since Missouri’s peak hospital case count on April 7, the Kansas City area has had a 41% decline in the number of people who have been treated at a hospital for the coronavirus.

“All of the important steps that we have taken over the last six weeks have led to fewer infections, have led to fewer hospitalizations and have saved lives,” says Lucas.

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