Joplin City Council votes down move into Step 3 of Recovery Plan

JOPLIN, Mo. – The Joplin City Council failed to pass a motion to move the city into step three of the city’s recovery plan. Step three would have removed the occupancy restrictions for businesses and restaurants.

Councilman Gary Shaw made the motion toward the end of the Monday night meeting to move the city into step three of the recovery plan. He said it was because of the number of phone calls he’s received from local restaurant owners who are struggling to make ends meet with the current occupancy restrictions.

Sergio Carbajal is the owner of Habanernos on 7th Street in Joplin, and says the restrictions are hurting him. “We use to have 19 tables, now we’re down to 12, so when it gets busy like this in lunch rush hour, it’s just impossible to accommodate all the people that came here, we refused some service sometimes because we don’t have the space.”

That drop in people they can serve also impacts their bottom line. “A little bit yes, especially like I said in rush hours, especially lunch, we refuse at least two or three tables, per day, so it’s a loss of revenue.”

Joplin councilman Anthony Monteleone says he voted against moving to step three. “The motion as it was presented included language to eliminate social distancing, and that’s something that not even the President’s stage three plan recommends, so it wasn’t something I was ready to do.”

Monteleone says he knows it’s hurting businesses, and he’s hopeful they can still reevaluate some of the restrictions currently in place. “What changes can we make to our restrictions, put a few more people in seats and help these folks pay their servers and pay their staff and make some money, because we want to keep business going in Joplin.”

Carbajal says he’s thankful for delivery services like GrubHub and DoorDash. “It’s been a huge help, it’s been a huge help, maybe the revenue that we lose with the tables maybe we gain it in to-gos, so that maybe compensates.”

But he says it still doesn’t fully make up for the loss of in-person business.

Monteleone says it’s important for people to remember they look at the recovery plan at every council meeting, and are continuously evaluating the next step.