Bar owners voice concerns of another shutdown to Shawnee County leaders

Local News

TOPEKA, Kan. (KSNT) – Bar owners in Topeka are doing everything they can to avoid another shutdown.

On Monday, bar owners like Frankie Saiya at Abigail’s Bar & Grill met with officials at the Shawnee County Health Department to get some clarity on exactly what they should be doing to avoid another shutdown.

“We got two hours warning. Two hours, 43 minutes warning that we were getting shut down and a lot of us lost a lot of product and a lot of money,” Saiya said.

Coronavirus cases across the country are going up, including in Shawnee County.

As of Monday evening, there are 621 confirmed cases. That’s more than 100 new cases in one week.

This had bar owners at Monday’s meeting worried their businesses are in jeopardy.

“There’s a lot of businesses that will not come back from it. It’s…it’s a lot,” Billy Noel with Breaker’s Bar said.

The point of the meeting was to learn specifically what rules they should be implementing every day, besides capacity and mass gathering rules.

“Are we supposed to be using paper menus? Are we supposed to be using you know ketchup packet? That kind of detail matters,” Saiya said.

He said that way if county officials force another shutdown, they can say they’ve done everything that’s been asked.

Dusty Nichols with Shawnee County Emergency Management said he couldn’t say if another county-wide shutdown is coming, but he did tell business owners they would be given more of a warning this time around if so.

The county is planning to give the bars a checklist of expectations within the next week.

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