Rae’s Café reopens, reminds customers of mask mandate, includes medical exemption

BLUE SPRINGS, MO (KCTV) — On Tuesday morning, Rae’s Café was open. Pork chops and eggs were on special. What was attracting the most attention, however, was a piece of paper out front reminding customers of the mask mandate and the medical exemption.

Rae’s Café’ has been at odds with the Jackson County Health Department over the mask mandate.

The mandate says customers should mask up “unless a medical exemption applies.” It goes on to clarify places of public accommodation can “neither require the individual to produce medical documentation nor ask about the nature of a medical condition or disability.”

Don’t ask, don’t mask appeared to be in full swing as customers stopped by for breakfast and lunch, supporting the owner.

“I think that it’s ridiculous to have a person come into a restaurant and wear a mask and walk 20 feet to a table and then take it off again. That just doesn’t make any sense whatsoever,” said customer James Henton.

Henton picked up a to-go order for his pregnant wife and pointed out he was the Chief’s home opener with close to 80,000 fans.

“Why are we picking on her? Leave her alone,” said Henton.

The county has a different view of Rae’s Café, openly labeling them an imminent threat and public menace.

The request for a restraining order pointed out the global pandemic and that 388 people have died of COVID-19 in the county.

A judge granted the request but later amended the order, saying the cafe could reopen before Wednesday’s hearing if it followed the mask mandate.

It’s unclear if Tuesday’s brunch falls within the guidelines.

“If they’re using some sort of scheme and everyone’s talking, ‘Hey, let’s do this and act like we have medical exemptions!’ Even though they think they can’t ask him, that’s gonna be a problem and the court can really, really have an issue with it,” warned attorney Phil LeVota.

LeVota says this case is attracting statewide attention.

“The stakes are big. If this mask mandate goes on for a while, we’re making law here. Can the county do this? And that’s why I think you’re going see everyone in the state watching this case; to see if we’re making law and who’s right, who’s wrong and who can enforce it, who can’t,” said LeVota.

The owner, Amanda Wohletz, said she was relieved to be back with customers and serving food but nervous about court.

“I’m a nervous wreck. I hate this s—. I want to cry. I don’t like it. I don’t like any of it. I did not ask for this. I just want to run my business,” Wohletz said.