A Missouri restaurant was ordered to shut down after violating the county's health orders regarding COVID-19. The cafe defied the orders by reopening as a "private club."
The Jackson County Department of Environmental Health issued multiple warnings and citations to Rae's Cafe in Blue Springs. The county's
Marshanna Smith, a Jackson County spokesperson, told KCTV-TV that the "enforcement of the health order requiring masks is complaint-based, meaning concerned community residents contact us about non-compliance." Smith said 10 complaints had been filed about Rae's Cafe.
After investigating the complaints, the county revoked the restaurant's food establishment permit. Rae's Cafe was shut down on Friday by the Jackson County Health Department for not abiding by the mask mandate. The county declared the restaurant to be an "imminent health hazard."
Amanda Wohletz, the owner of Rae's Cafe, admitted, "I have not honored the mask mandate this round; I did the entire last round."
On Saturday morning, Rae's Cafe reportedly reopened as a "private club."
There was reportedly a sign outside the restaurant that read: "Welcome to Rae's private club. $1 membership fee collected at the door at each member's visit. Dress code: No masks allowed. Please sign your name upon entry to verify your club's membership. As a member, you can suggest items to the menu."
The sign included "club policies," which were: "By entering this club you admit that you are not a member of the general public. By signing your name, you record your membership and attendance. You also assume any and all risks of disease transmission."
Jackson County issued an order on Aug. 4 that demands people wear a face covering or mask in an "indoor place of accommodation," which is defined as "any place or business offering or holding out to the general public goods, services, privileges, facilities advantages or accommodations for the peace, comfort, health and safety for the general public."
However, the order also states that "public accommodation shall not include a private club."
Wohletz explained that the mask mandate is unfair to restaurant workers, "You can't work in it."
Regarding the mask mandate, Wohletz told KSHB-TV, "It didn't work the first time, it hasn't worked in two years, so why are you going to keep making restaurants and bars suffer that have already suffered for so long."
"This is my livelihood," Wohletz said. "This is my staff's livelihood. It should be my choice for my restaurant."
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