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Columbia’s reopening plan orders some businesses to stay closed

Columbia's reopening plan orders some businesses to stay closed


A number of entertainment venues in Columbia will stay closed until further notice after city and Boone County leaders rolled out a new reopen order Thursday.

The Columbia/Boone County Plan for Response and a Road Map to Reopening allows for many businesses to reopen May 4.

However, the order calls for all entertainment venues, bars and playgrounds to remain closed. This includes bowling alleys, arcades, bingo halls, movie theaters, adult entertainment, axe throwing, breakout rooms, trampoline parks, mini golf, hot tubs and all contact sports.

Barbie Banks, the director of Ragtag Cinema, said they were prepared for this decision from city and county leaders.

"We expected this to happen," Banks said. "We knew that when you look at essential businesses and then the next level, entertainment has to kind of take a backseat, especially entertainment that is focused around gathering of people."

The order does not say when entertainment venues will be able to open their doors again.

Jon Westhoff, a co-owner of Breakout CoMo, said they are prepared to wait things out.

"For us, it's been just a lot of wait to see," Westhoff said. "We're ready to be closed for the long haul and we're looking to do things safely as opposed to just what's best for us economically."

While Ragtag and Breakout CoMo both voice their understanding for the hold on entertainment venues, one local small business owner does not echo the same sentiment.

"I personally feel that it's economically irresponsible on the part of the county and the city," said Lorie Lofquist, the owner of the Axe House. "We still have bills to pay, we still have to pay the city for our utilities."

Lofquist said the Axe House was ready to reopen May 4 with plans set up for social distancing guidelines and ways to keep the facility clean.

"The Axe House itself closed middle of March. We were happy to do so, we were happy to do our part to minimize the curve and to help get everybody through this COVID pandemic," Lofquist said. "But we do need at some point to start being economically responsible and allowing small businesses to get back to work and to start, you know, making money again rather than demanding that we keep paying these bills, but also mandating that we stay closed."

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Zach Boetto

Zach Boetto anchors the weekend morning and weekday 9 a.m. & noon newscasts for ABC 17. You can find up-to-the-minute information on Zach’s social media, @ABC17Zach on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.


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