SPRINGFIELD, Mo.– A local business opened its doors Wednesday for people to eat and play Bingo. This action was illegal in Greene County under Phase 1 of the “Road to Recovery” plan, which has since been revised to loosen restrictions.
On May 6, the Barnhouse re-opened, with tables spaced eight feet apart and sanitizer on hand for those playing bingo. Zarechi estimates around 100 people are spaced between his two floors, and while he knows he is taking a risk running illegally, he explains why he made the decision.
“It was exciting news hearing that the Governor was going to re-open the state, and then when the city and county come back and says some small businesses can reopen and some cannot, you’re sitting there in shock and not sure what to do,” Zarechi said Wednesday night. “So then, you start exploring. Without opening up tonight, I could tell you that we won’t be here next year. I want to work with them, and make sure our community is safe and taken care of, but at the same time, the ball is kind of going to be in their court at this point.”
Health Director Clay Goddard says it was reckless and it is not where we need to be at in this phase.
Greene County Commissioner Bob Dixon said it is shameful and selfish.
Both city and county leaders were not pleased with the owner for handling the situation the way he did.
Greene County Health Director condemned the move by Zarechi in a press briefing on Thursday.
“Number one it’s reckless, it’s not where we need to be at this phase of recovery. If we squander all of the work that we’ve done, it doesn’t seem to make sense. I recognize that there have been a lot of sacrifices, and that’s not without empathy,” Goddard stated.
Greene County Presiding Commissioner Bob Dixon was also upset with the owner’s actions.
“Shameful, and disrespectful to everyone else who has made immeasurable sacrifice. Look to the fact that 70,000 people have died in this country in the last two months. That’s more than the entire Vietnam war. That didn’t seem to phase him though, so I think it was selfish,” says Dixon.
Below, you can see some of the comments made by county leaders.