Under Gov. Jared Poliss executive order eateries including bars, cafes, and coffee shops cannot offer dine-in services until May 26. According to The Denver Post, as a penalty for violating the order, restaurants could have their licenses revoked. A spokeswoman for the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment told the news outlet that while no one was available Sunday to address the restaurants reopening, the violation is a misdemeanor punishable by a fine of $1,000 or up to one year in jail.
But despite social media backlash, the owners of C&C Coffee and Kitchen were happy to see crowds flood their establishment. Owner April Arellano told Puckett that she had never seen such a crowd in the restaurants seven years of operation. I expected it to be busy. I never expected this, she told Colorado Community Media. Im so happy so many people came out to support the Constitution and stand up for what is right. We did our time. We did our two weeks. We did more than two weeks and we were failing. We had to do something.
Arellano also posted a Facebook live video showcasing the crowd claiming that without doing something she would have gone out of business. So much for some of those people saying nobody would show up, she said in the video. Thank you, thank you, thank you so much for the support, guys. I got to get back to work. The video has since then been removed, The Denver Post reported.
The governors office issued a statement Sunday calling the restaurants actions dangerous. These restaurants are not only breaking the law, they are endangering the lives of their staff, customers, and community, the statement by deputy press secretary Shelby Wieman, read according to The Denver Post. Under Safer at Home, restaurants, food courts, cafes, coffeehouses, and other similar places of public accommodation offering food or beverage for on-premises consumption are still closed. Delivery and drive-up service is available. Coloradans can contact their local public health department if they believe someone is violating Safer at Home. While masks are only required for essential workers statewide, Gov. Polis has recommended the use of facial covers when in public.
Nick Whitehill, who planned to pick up a takeout order Sunday told The Denver Post, that it was unbelievable to see a crowd and complete disregard of statewide safety measures. Noticing that diners were not wearing masks and customers werent practicing social distancing prompted Whitehill to make the decision of leaving without his food despite paying for it. I wasnt even going to eat the food even if I had gotten it, Whitehill said. I walked in, took the picture and turned right around. He shared the photo in a social media post that has since then been deleted.
Reviews on the restaurants Yelp page have also increased following the videos appearance on social media. While many criticized and complained about the restaurants lack of following safety measures, some supported the restaurant including one who said: the coffee is to die for, The Washington Post reported. Although her business may be at risk and fines will be in place, Arellano has shown no remorse for an action that could endanger hundreds.
We are standing for America, small businesses, the Constitution and against the overreach of our governor in Colorado!! C & C Coffee & Kitchen wrote on its Twitter account. The tweet tagged Donald Trump, who has shown public support for those actively participating in anti-lockdown activities.
Nationwide business owners are taking measures to protest stay-at-home orders. Daily Kos reported that a salon owner in Texas was sentenced to seven days in jail for refusing to close her business amid the novel coronavirus pandemic. Similar to how people came to Arellanos defense, Republicans includingTed Cruzwho got a horrible haircut at the salonquickly came to the owners defense. Some evenvolunteered to pay her fine.
While one can understand the sentiment local business owners face with stay-at-home orders in place, ignoring measures put in place for the safety of society is irresponsible. Disregarding social distancing measures and other recommendations in place to stop the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic only increases the chance of infection ultimately leading to a longer time in quarantine.