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Nick’s Picks | COVID Emergency Rules End, Mother’s Day Looms Trash Talk at City Hall

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Above image credit: "Kansas City Week in Review" host Nick Haines. (John McGrath | Flatland)
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4 minute read

This week, the Biden administration is scheduled to remove the last of the federal government’s COVID emergency rules, marking the official end of the pandemic in the United States. 

Hundreds of coronavirus-related health and safety regulations will expire on Thursday. 

So, what does that mean to you and me? 

Experts say the biggest impact will be the end of free coronavirus tests. Unless you have a generous employer or a gold-plated health insurance plan you’re going to have to start paying from now on. It will cost you about $25 for a box of two tests at your local drug store. Prepare to pay more if you get tested at the doctor’s office or an urgent care facility. 

The good news: COVID shots will remain free — at least for now. The Biden administration has announced a $1.1 billion program to ensure access to free coronavirus vaccines through December 2024. 

Another big change this week is that unvaccinated foreign travelers can finally enter the United States.  

And it’s going to be “Face Freedom Day” for many medical workers.  

I have one viewer who works at a Missouri nursing home. She tells me they’ve had to wear masks every day for the last three years. That finally changes on Thursday when the emergency order expires. 

Last Week, Reviewed

Missouri Lawmakers to Finish Session 

Missouri lawmakers are on the clock. 

Friday is the final day of this year’s legislative session. But Missouri Gov. Mike Parson is threatening to call lawmakers back to work if they do not pass bills restricting transgender athletes and transition-related medical care for minors.  

Despite all the headlines, Missouri lawmakers have failed to get any transgender restriction measures across the finish line. 

While Parson waits for lawmakers, House and Senate leaders have sent a pile of bills to his desk. 

Awaiting Parson’s signature this week is a new budget that includes $2.8 billion to widen Interstate 70 between Kansas City and St. Louis. The money will add a third lane in both directions. Work will start this fall.  

Parson is also expected to sign into law $50 million in improvements at Arrowhead Stadium to prepare the venue for hosting the World Cup. 

And lights, camera, action. There’s money for filmmakers to bring Hollywood movie productions to Kansas City and other locations in Missouri. Upset that so many films about the state are now being shot elsewhere, lawmakers have greenlighted a new tax credit program for the film and music industries.  

An earlier film tax credit program was eliminated by state lawmakers in 2013. 

KC as ‘Trans Sanctuary’ 

How should Kansas City respond to a wave of new transgender restrictions on both sides of state line? 

This week, the Kansas City Council is considering defying state laws and creating a “sanctuary city” for the transgender community. 

Advocates want to block local prosecutors and police from enforcing new rules that limit how trans residents can access medical treatments or limit their ability to use women’s restrooms. 

A public hearing on the proposal is set for Wednesday at 9 a.m. on the 26th floor of City Hall. 

Trash Talk at City Hall 

Will this put an end to the trash talk? 

This week, Mayor Quinton Lucas says he will introduce an ordinance that temporarily bans new landfills in Kansas City.  

It follows months of angry protests from south Kansas City residents who claim the city is quietly securing land for a 430-acre trash site near their homes, and within “smelling distance” of Raymore,  Lee’s Summit and Belton. 

It’s unclear whether Lucas’s move will quell public anger or fan the flames. The mayor’s proposal would only ban the city from considering new landfill projects for one year. 

Royals Out of the Basement 

Here’s some uplifting news to start the week. 

The Royals are no longer tied for the worst record in baseball.  

Kansas City’s 5-1 win against Oakland on Sunday officially lifted the team from the bottom of the Major League Baseball standings. It also spared the Royals from breaking the record for “longest home losing streak” in team history. 

The Royals begin a four-game series against the Chicago White Sox tonight at Kauffman Stadium. 

It’s also a great start to the week for Kansas City soccer fans. The drought is finally over! 

Over the weekend, Sporting KC won its first game of the season. 

The team now has a quick turnaround. Sporting travels to Texas on Wednesday for a U.S. Open Cup match against Houston. 

Kansas City Royals' Bobby Witt Jr. (7) is congratulated after scoring a run against the Cleveland Guardians during the eighth inning of a baseball game, Thursday, April 7, 2022 in Kansas City, Missouri.
Kansas City Royals’ Bobby Witt Jr. (7) is congratulated after scoring a run against the Cleveland Guardians during the eighth inning of a baseball game, Thursday, April 7, 2022 in Kansas City, Missouri. (AP Photo | Reed Hoffmann)

Mother’s Day  

Just in case you’ve forgotten, we’re celebrating Mother’s Day this weekend.  

If you’re thinking about dining out on Sunday, remember that Mother’s Day is also the busiest restaurant day of the year.  

The National Restaurant Association says Mother’s Day far surpasses Valentine’s Day and Easter as the most popular day to eat out. 

That’s mainly because the celebrations are not limited to one specific meal. Mother’s Day sees 10% of consumers dine out for breakfast, 5% for brunch, 45% for lunch and the rest for dinner.  

I think I’m going to do all four! In addition to Mother’s Day, this weekend is my wife’s birthday, my daughter’s birthday and our wedding anniversary.  

Would you Venmo me? 

Celebrity Sightings 

Be on the lookout for rock star Billy Idol.  

Almost 50 years into his music career, Idol is making a stop in Kansas City as part of a new 15-city tour. He takes the stage at the Uptown Theater on Thursday night. 

Michael Feinstein is also in Kansas City this week. The singer, pianist and music revivalist will appear with the Kansas City Symphony in a special tribute concert to Judy Garland. 

It’s this Saturday night at the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts. This would be Garland’s 100th birthday.  

And country music star Trace Adkins headlines the Country Roots Fest this weekend at Legends Field. 

That’s the new name for CommunityAmerica Ballpark in Kansas City, Kansas. Chris Young and Clay Walker will join Adkins on stage this Saturday night. 

Nick Haines tracks the week’s most impactful local news stories on “Kansas City Week in Review,” Friday at 7:30 p.m. on Kansas City PBS.

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