On Sunday, a restaurant in Castle Rock, Colorado defied a statewide public health order by opening their doors for a (pretty massive) Mother's Day crowd. At the moment, the state, like many others, is only allowing for restaurants to provide takeout and delivery.
According to The Denver Post, C&C Coffee and Kitchen was able to fill their indoor tables and patio area while still having a line that extended out the door. Nick Whitehill, a customer quoted by The Post, expressed incredulity at how few precautions were being taken by customers and staff, when he went in to pick up what he thought was curbside carryout.
“It was unbelievable to me,” Whitehill said.
He added that he was shocked by the large crowds when he got there, and that he was wearing a mask when he went to get his food. He said he went inside to get his pre-paid-for meal, but that he left without it after observing that the staff inside wasn't masked up, and that few (if any) patrons were practicing any form of social distancing.
Douglas County, where C&C Coffee and Kitchen resides, has not required citizens to wear masks inside businesses. But Colorado's governor, Jared Polis, has issued recommendations for their widespread use.
The Post attempted to reach April Arellano, the restaurant's owner, for comment, but that request wasn't immediately returned. A tweet sent out by the eatery's Twitter account was aimed at President Trump, and stated "We are standing for America, small businesses, the Constitution and against the overreach of our governor in Colorado!!"
A Facebook post from Arellano that was put up early on Saturday morning announced that the restaurant would be opening for dine-in on Mother's Day despite a "CRPD officer" reporting the opening to "Tri-County."
That Facebook message appears to have been updated, but The Post quoted Arellano as saying that she "would go out of business if I don't do something," and that the opening was worth it because "if I lose the business at least I'm fighting."
In a comment on her post, she told another person that "We are so behind. We have complied for two months. We cannot make it on $200/day sales when 2 staff cost me $250 not counting, food, cost, utilities and rent.”
As for a visual reportedly showing the Sunday crowd, here's one from Twitter user @nick_puckett of Colorado Community Media:
A Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment spokeswoman stated that nobody was around on Sunday to comment on what could happen as a result of this reopening. She did add, however, that a violation of the state's public health order is a misdemeanor.
Previously, authorities have said that those who violate the order could see their licenses revoked.
This order has been an attempt to prevent restaurants/cafes/bars/and more from offering dine-in services. It is set to last through May 26, though delivery and carryout is still available if social-distancing protocols are followed.
Also on Sunday the Tri-County Health Department found someone to comment, putting out this statement to CBS4:
"We are disappointed that [C&C] has decided to ignore the Governor’s Safer at Home order and open up today with no attention to social distancing. This decision runs the risk of undermining the impact that other Douglas County businesses and residents have achieved over the last seven weeks by taking various social distancing measures. As the entity charged with enforcing the Governor’s statewide Safer at Home Public Health Order, we will follow up with this restaurant to ensure that they, like other restaurants in the county, take appropriate steps to protect the public health, by limiting service to curbside and take-out service."
This past Thursday, health officials in the area had closed a Winery because they were letting customers sit on a patio and disregard social distancing procedures. A day later, that establishment was allowed to reopen for takeout and delivery because the owner agreed to follow the state's rules.