Illustration by Victoria Cimerman

Downtown Gets Back to Business

September 5, 2020

On July 6, Johnson County officials mandated the use of face coverings by residents and visitors in any public indoor location including retail stores, grocery stores, offices, places of worship, restaurants and bars. Despite a global pandemic, students are still going out for “Thirsty Thursday.” COVID-19 has not stopped young people across the country from going out to bars, despite the risks and warnings.

Warrensburg is home to multiple bars, the majority of which are located on Pine Street. Upon the return of students, many have gravitated downtown. Fitter’s bartender Tyler Greer, said the restaurant is still at half capacity for customers, but they have opened all tables for seating. Employees are required to wear a mask at all times. The pub also requires patrons to wear masks until they receive their order, and if they leave their table at any time, they’re expected to put their mask back on. Greer said, “A lot of people think it’s a hoax, the younger people, not the older ones. College students definitely aren’t taking it as seriously.”

Although establishments might be holding up their end of the deal, it seems as though patrons are not and that is one of the main concerns of public health officials. For many students, college is their first taste of freedom. With no curfew or parents waiting for them at home, going out and socializing is that much more enticing. UCM sophomore, Kensey Lamb said, “Clearly, students are still going to the bars. They do have tables at the restaurants that are closed to maintain social distancing. You have to wear your mask around the bar, but they don’t implement the 6 feet rule. They try to, but it’s not enforced.”

According to a press release from Johnson County Community Health Services, “this small sacrifice now will help get everyone back to a more normal way of life, while helping get kids back to school and resume regular activities.”

“I think everyone wants to do the right thing and contribute to the end goal. Small sacrifices are being made now so we can get back to our previous way of life,” Karri Lewis, community outreach coordinator for Johnson County Community Health Services, said.

Lewis further said she hopes that everyone takes personal responsibility and students are mindful of social distancing and masks on and off-campus.

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