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For more news about the COVID-19 coronavirus, access the News Tribune Health section.

Restaurants in Missouri's largest city can reopen to in-person dining starting Friday after a lengthy shutdown caused by the coronavirus, and here are some of things patrons can expect to see: Employees wearing face coverings, plenty of space between tables, no bar seating and no buffets.

Kansas City Mayor Quinton Lucas on Monday spelled out reopening guidelines for restaurants and other non-essential businesses. The guidelines will remain in place through at least May 31.

Lucas encouraged anyone going out in public to wear face protection and continue to maintain social distancing to protect against catching or spreading COVID-19, the illness caused by the coronavirus.

"COVID-19 remains present throughout the greater Kansas City region, with serious potential health consequences for those infected," Lucas said in a statement. "We will continue to balance the public health and economic needs of our community as we continue our road to recovery."

The guidelines state that restaurant patrons with symptoms shouldn't be allowed to dine, and workers with symptoms shouldn't be allowed to work. Patrons must be seated while eating or drinking, and tables should generally be spaced 10 feet apart.

Bar seating is prohibited, and buffets and other self-service food preparation are banned.

Employees must wear protective face coverings in all areas open to the public. Disposable menus are encouraged, otherwise menus should be cleaned and sanitized after each customer's use. The guidelines also call for frequent cleaning and sanitizing of areas that are frequently touched, including door handles and service counters.

Restaurants reopened to in-person dining last week across most of Missouri, but restrictions remained in place in and around St. Louis and Kansas City — the parts of the state with the highest number of cases and deaths.

The Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services reported Sunday that Missouri has 9,844 confirmed cases of the coronavirus and 484 deaths.

For most people, the coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms that clear up after two to three weeks. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia.

Missouri prisoners are producing a variety of products to help government agencies and nonprofit organizations during the pandemic. Three Missouri Vocational Enterprises factories have been modified since March to focus on items of need.

Karen Pojmann, spokeswoman for the corrections department, said that as of May 1, prisoners have manufactured 190,418 reusable fabric face covers, including 1,100 for members of the Missouri General Assembly; 6,383 one-gallon jugs and 17,788 4-ounce bottles of hand sanitizer; and 5,827 protective gowns for veterans homes and nursing home. They're also making 336,000 rolls of toilet paper per week.

 

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