Important visitor information regarding the COVID-19 pandemic
Update – June 24, 2020
The City of Independence is currently in Phase 1 of a four-phase reopening plan. We’re excited to announce that we expect to reopen our historic sites to the public in Phase 2, which is expected to begin on July 1, 2020. We are also working with our partners to update reopening information about other attractions in Independence. Please refer to the tabs below for more information.
On Thursday, March 12, 2020, the City of Independence declared a state of emergency as a precautionary response to the nationwide COVID-19 pandemic. Some of our attractions and events have been closed or cancelled, and our services have been impacted. With this page, we intend to keep our visitors informed about these impacts in Independence.
We appreciate your understanding as we do our part to help slow the spread of this disease.
We further encourage visitors to keep up to date with the latest information about the COVID-19 pandemic here.
The City of Independence is following guidance from Jackson County regarding restaurant operations during the COVID-19 pandemic. As of June 1, the County is in Phase 2 of its official Recovery Plan.
We’re excited to share our restaurants with you again. You can find a full listing of our restaurants here.
During Phase 2, restaurants and bars are permitted to be open with the following restrictions:
Capacity: Given that social distancing can be maintained, restaurants must limit the number of people in their establishments to 50% of capacity.
Cleaning: Restaurants must perform enhanced cleanings of all touched surfaces frequently throughout the day.
Personal Protective Equipment: Staff must wear masks when in common areas and during all customer interactions.
Requirements: Each facility must complete and post (visible to customers and employees) a Social Distancing Protocol at each entrance.
Please note that Jackson County encourages everyone to maintain social distancing and to wear a face covering, when possible.
The City of Independence has elected to shutter its historic sites — including the Vaile Mansion, Bingham-Waggoner Estate, National Frontier Trails Museum, and Chicago & Alton Depot — through the 2020 season as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. We apologize for any inconvenience.
We’re currently working with our partners throughout Independence to update reopening plans at other local attractions. If you’re interested in an attraction not operated by the City of Independence (denoted ‘COI’ below) , please visit its website for details.
Attraction updates as of June 8, 2020 (Listed alphabetically)
- 1859 Jail, Marshal’s Home & Museum: Reopening July 1, 2020. Masks and reservations required.
- Adventure Oasis Water Park (COI): Closed through 2020 season.
- Bingham-Waggoner Estate (COI): Closed through 2020 season. May reopen for Christmas tours Thanksgiving-December.
- Chicago & Alton Depot (COI): Closed through 2020 season.
- Community of Christ Temple Complex (including the Children’s Peace Pavilion, Auditorium and all historic sites): Closed through June 30, 2020.
- George Owens Nature Park (COI): Park trails, lakes and outdoor areas accessible during regular park hours. DeWitt Center and lodge will reopen July 1, 2020, with 50% capacity limit.
- Harry S Truman National Historic Site (Truman Home): Closed until further notice.
- Independence Center: Open with reduced hours until July 6. Individual store reopening dates and hours may vary.
- Independence Uptown Market (COI): Farmers’ Market currently operating in drive-thru format from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturdays through June.
- Midwest Genealogy Center & Mid-Continent Public Library branches: Opening Tuesday, June 16, with limited services.
- National Frontier Trails Museum (COI): Closed through 2020 season.
- Silverstein Eye Centers Arena: Awaiting update.
- Truman Courthouse: Awaiting update.
- Truman Library: Museum closed until fall 2020 for renovations.
- Vaile Mansion (COI): Closed through 2020 season. May reopen for Christmas tours Thanksgiving-December.
- Visitor Welcome Center (COI): Reopening Wednesday, July 1, 2020.
City of Independence Historic Sites
The Bingham-Waggoner Estate, Chicago and Alton Depot and Vaile Mansion will reopen to the public for self-guided tours starting Friday, July 3, 2020. The 1827 Log Courthouse will be available with advance reservations and the National Frontier Trails Museum will remain closed until further notice.
We are implementing an adapted schedule until the end of August:
Fridays, Saturdays: 10 a.m. – 3 p.m. | Sundays and holidays: 1-3 p.m.
Self-guided tours will begin on the hour at the Vaile Mansion and Bingham-Waggoner Estate. Tours are limited to 10 people per time slot. Self-guided tours at the Chicago & Alton Depot will begin on the half-hour, with a maximum of six visitors per time slot. Spaces are available on a first-come, first-served basis.
The historic sites will follow the following safety protocols: Face masks required, social distancing required, hand sanitizing encouraged.
We appreciate your adhering to all safety practices for the well-being of our guests and staff in accordance with the City’s phased reopening.
Several local events have been cancelled in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. For the time being, we are marking these events “cancelled” on our Event Calendar. Many events will be rescheduled, and we will update event dates/times as they become available. Please see the calendar below for known cancellations.
Please visit our Event Calendar page to see all of our upcoming events.
Our hotels are open for business, and they’re taking precautions to protect the health and safety of visitors and employees.
Please contact the hotel you’re planning on booking with for details, but, generally, as of June 15:
- Hotel pools are starting to reopen.
- Smaller hotels are operating at full or almost-full capacity.
- Some hotels have stopped offering stayover service to protect staff.
- Hotels are being more strict with cleaning protocols. All facilities wipe down surfaces more frequently and have a protective barrier at the front desk to promote social distancing. Some hotels are allowing a few days in between booking.
- Smaller hotels are offering full breakfasts again, but many of the medium to larger hotels have grab-and-go options available.
- Ballrooms/event spaces restaurants and bars are operating within City guidelines.