Colorado restaurant defies coronavirus restrictions on Mother's Day, draws packed house
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Worried about losing her business, a Colorado restaurant owner welcomed a crowd of customers on Mother's Day despite statewide "safer-at-home" orders preventing in-service dining to slow the spread of COVID-19.
A video shot by Nick Puckett of Colorado Community Media appears to show customers packed inside Castle Rock's C&C Coffee and Kitchen Sunday not abiding by social distancing guidelines.
The Tri-County Health Department, which has jurisdiction over the restaurant's county, told FOX Business Monday that it's disappointed in the restaurant's decision to ignore the governor's order.
"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," a spokesperson for the department said in an emailed statement.
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Owner April Arellano said she saw almost double the traffic compared to a normal Mother's Day, according to Colorado Community Media.
"I'm so happy so many people came out to support the Constitution and stand up for what is right," Arellano told the outlet. "We did our time. We did our two weeks. We did more than two weeks…and we were failing. We had to do something."
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The store's Twitter account said it was reopening to stand "for America, small businesses, the Constitution and against the overreach of our governor in Colorado!!"
Arellano said in a now-deleted Facebook video, "If I lose the business at least I'm fighting," according to the Denver Post.
Castle Rock's C&C Coffee and Kitchen did not immediately respond to FOX Business' request for comment.
Colorado is among the first wave of states beginning to reopen its economy in phases without the testing and contact-tracing infrastructure health experts say is needed to prevent the virus from resurging, according to Reuters.
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On April 26, the state transitioned into a "safer-at-home" mandate after lifting its lockdown orders. Under the new policy, which created guidelines for how businesses can reopen, restaurants and bars are still limited to take out and delivery only until at least until the end of May as long as they follow safety measures for customer and employee safety.
"These restaurants are not only breaking the law, they are endangering the lives of their staff, customers, and community," deputy press secretary to Gov. Jared Polis, Shelby Wieman said in a statement 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."
Residents can contact the local public health department if they believe someone is violating the governor's "safer-at-home" policy, Wieman added.
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Under the order, everyone is still encouraged to stay at home. Polis also reiterated that residents should continue to limit social interactions "to the greatest extent possible" while urging Coloradans to wear facial masks when they are out.
"The virus is still present in Colorado and can re-surge at any time. Everyone needs to do their part for themselves, their loved ones, and our community. We have a responsibility to ourselves and to each other to protect our state and our community," a statement from the governor's office read.
A spokeswoman for the Colorado Department of Public Health told the Denver Post would not discuss what was being done regarding the reopening, but said violating the public health order is considered a misdemeanor, which is punishable by $1,000 fine or up to a year in jail.
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Meanwhile, the Tri-County Health Department says it 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," a spokesperson said.
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