Some Shawnee Co. bars and restaurants caught staying open despite new health order

Published: Nov. 21, 2020 at 10:54 PM CST
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TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) -The Shawnee County health order requiring bars and restaurants to close at 9 P.M took effect Friday, but local officials found some locations not complying.

Kevin Cook received an email telling him at least five businesses were open past 9 P.M - despite the newest health order.

“Unfortunately we do have some bars and restaurants who have completely disregarded the county resolution and it’s very disappointing, it’s very sad that we don’t have the participation of people that want to protect our community.”

Cook says he forwarded the email to someone who could take action.

“Whether it’s the Topeka Police Department, The Shawnee County Sheriff or the district attorney, The Shawnee county commission really enacts the resolution but enforcement goes to law enforcement.”

According to Cook, Topeka Police Chief Bill Cochran drove around the area, and noted several locations not complying with the order.

“I understand that chief Cochran went out and did some investigating and did see violations and those were noted and I understand that there will be follow-ups on those violations.”

The owner of Skinny’s Sports Bar and Grill, one location that Cochran listed, says he believes the county could have done a better job communicating.

“I’m in the bar business, when that ordinance came out, they said 12:01 Friday, I’m thinking because I’m in the bar business I’ve been doing it along time, 12:01 Friday in my world means midnight Friday.”

Mark Schonlaw suspects other bars and restaurants could have had the same misunderstanding.

“Usually when they have done these ordinances, I know it was a rush because of the situation but they’ve always talked about it Tuesday and started it Sunday night which is 12:01 Monday Morning so when they said 12:01 Friday, in the bar world we’re all thinking midnight Friday.”

Chief Cochran issued a statement saying that police are hoping for voluntary compliance.

Shawnee County Sheriff Brian hill told 13 News if the health department calls them to serve a violation order, by law they would do so, but he was not yet aware of any such notifications.

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