City of Parkville approved the event with an additional endorsement from Parkville Mayor Nan Johnston.
he Platte County Health Department has concluded an investigation of a Parkville restaurant in which it determined the establishment hosted an illegal gathering which defied the department’s stay-at-home order and other measures meant to deter the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic.
In a letter to the owner and manager of the restaurant, Dan Luebbert, deputy director of the health department, warns that continued disregard for public health orders would result in the health department suspending the restaurant’s permit to operate a food establishment.
The concert was held the evening of Thursday, April 23 in a parking lot north of Rancho Grande Cantina, 11015 N.W. Hwy. 45, Parkville and “constituted an imminent threat creating an immediate menace to public health,” the department wrote in a letter signed by Luebbert.
“According to the complainants, your staff was serving drinks to an audience of more than 10 people who were not complying with social distancing requirements in the order” that was in effect on the day of the event (April 23).
The letter says the health department’s investigation has confirmed that the concert did, in fact, occur in the parking lot north of Rancho Grande Cantina. Footage from a television news story, as well as social media posts, substantiates the complaint, the health department’s letter states.
The department launched an investigation after complaints from some customers who attended the event. Complainants were concerned about the concert violating rules established by local authorities. The zip code (64152) where the restaurant is located has the highest number of virus infections in the county, according to the health department.
Health department officials say video footage of the event showed several people standing closer than recommendations and not following other health department guidelines designed to prevent spread of the virus.
The two-page letter is addressed to the unnamed owner of the establishment whose office is listed at 2102 Burr Oak Court in Liberty and manager Tami King at the Parkville Rancho Grande Cantina address.
While the letter stated that the 64152 zip code where the restaurant is located has the highest number of cases of the virus, no cases are known to have resulted from the concert, said Natalie Klaus, public information officer for the health department.
Eighteen people who live within that zip code have been reported to have had the virus.
KMBC 9 News telecast a piece about the Rancho Grande event on a newscast that night. The short news clip featured comments from Parkville Mayor Nan Johnston who was there and in her comments endorsed the gathering, saying: “It’s just nice to be able to get out and have some fun for a change.”
An email from The Landmark to Parkville Mayor Nan Johnston asking about the city’s role/approval of the event, if any, was not answered by deadline.
According to the health department, a resident who complained said when the resident contacted Parkville police on the night of the event, the resident was informed by police that the event had been approved by the City of Parkville as a private gathering.
The health department letter to Rancho Grande signed by Luebbert contained the following specific warning: “If you, as the operator of Rancho Grande Cantina, continue to disregard public health orders, the Platte County Health Department will suspend your permit to operate a food establishment and will take the necessary actions available to it under the law.”
The letter also stated that “the health and economy of your community and the entire region depend on responsible behavior by individuals and corporations. Having a concert in the midst of a stay-at-home order was irresponsible at best, and in fact illegal.”
The letter closed by saying: “If you have questions or need guidance on how to comply with the current order or future orders, please contact the Platte County Health Department at 816.858.2412.”
Health department officials said as of Tuesday no reply from the restaurant in reaction to the letter has been received. The letter was dated Thursday, May 7.
As of deadline, Rancho Grande management did not respond to a request from The Landmark for comment. A recording on the phone voicemail states that the restaurant is “open for car side curb service.”