KC mayor Quinton Lucas declares coronavirus state of emergency—curfews and business closures could follow

Kansas City mayor Quinton Lucas has declared a state of emergency for Missouri’s largest city.

The proclamation declaring a state of emergency was made “in consultation with Health Department Director Dr. Rex Archer and Emergency Medical Services Medical Director Dr. Erica Carney” to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

“It’s clear that many of our long-time traditions of spring, our planned activities, and how we interact over the weeks and months ahead will change dramatically as we confront our current public health challenge,” Lucas tweeted.

This authority for the mayor to make such a move comes from 50-155 of the city charter and it will last three weeks.

What does it mean? First, that the city can temporarily waive routine administrative and budgetary requirements when they “may impede the effective delivery of essential public services.”

The mayor can order the evacuation of areas where there is a threat to public health and safety and can close streets. He can also impose a curfew on the city or parts of the city meaning everyone “shall remove themselves to their places of residence and remain off and away from the public streets, sidewalks, parkways, parks and all other public or open places.”

This may be a quirk of Kansas City, but the provisions include a number of restrictions on booze. The mayor also has the power to order the closing of liquor stores, taverns and other places dispensing, serving or permitting the consumption of intoxicating liquor or nonintoxicating beer and order the discontinuance of the sale, distribution or giving away of intoxicating or nonintoxicating liquors.

The mayor could also order the closure of gas stations and summon police officers, firefighters and “other conservators of the peace” to report for duty.

The mayor will speak about the order today at 11:45 am at the KCMO Emergency Operations Center on Woodland Avenue.

You can watch Lucas’ press conference live via his Facebook page at 11:45 am.

Social Media

Get The Latest Updates

Subscribe to our newsletters

Kansas City magazine keeps readers updated on the latest news in twice-weekly newsletter. 

On Tuesdays, Dish brings you food news and our critic picks. 

On Thursdays, The Loop offers exclusive news reports and our curated events picks.