Americans have long been known as creative and enterprising people with a free spirit. With all the strict government mandates making it hard to earn a living in certain places, businesses must now be even more clever. And this appears to describe Rae’s Café in Blue Springs, Missouri.
According to KSHB 41, Jackson County health officials posted a public health notice on the front door on Friday, September 3, ordering the restaurant to close. The county closed the cafe because of alleged repeated violations of the county’s “COVID-19 order.” Fed up with the restrictions, Rae’s closed to the public on Friday and reopened as a private club on Saturday, September 4.
The “COVID-19 Order” issued in August “applies to places of public accommodation which include, ‘any place of 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.’ ”
The order also states, “public accommodations shall not include private clubs.” The county provided no scientific data to explain why COVID-19 affects people in public accommodations but not in private clubs.
As a private club, Rae’s Café charges a $1 membership fee upon entry, allowing members to eat at the establishment and suggest menu items. A sign affixed to the entrance door states the private club’s rules, including a dress code.
- Dress Code: No Masks Allowed.
- By entering this club, you admit that you are not a member of the general public.
- You also assume any and all risks of disease transmission.
About the county closing her business, owner Amanda Wohletz said, “I’m not doing it.” She refused to comply wouldn’t sign the order. Wohletz said she complied with the previous mask mandates, but no more.
Loyal customer Craig Picard said he doesn’t go out much, but he says, “the places I do go that I feel safe and comfortable with, that’s where I do go.” For him, that’s Rae’s Café.
Wohletz wonders why the government is being so hard on bars and restaurants. She feels her industry has suffered more than others because of the nature of the business.
Jackson County says it uses “complaint-based” enforcement with warnings first and then citations for further violations, leading to licensing suspensions and closures. This means even non-customers can walk by a business, be offended by the “non-compliance,” and file a complaint.
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