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Castle Rock restaurant reopens to Mother’s Day crowds in defiance of statewide public health order
C&C Coffee and Kitchen owner wrote on Facebook that she “would go out of business if I don’t do something”
Customers crowd inside C&C Coffee and Kitchen in Castle Rock, Colo., on May 10, 2020. The restaurant reopened to in-person dining on Mother’s Day in defiance of the statewide COVID-19 public health order that limits bars and restaurants to only serving customers via takeout and delivery service.
By SHELLY BRADBURY | [email protected]
| The Denver Post
PUBLISHED: May 10, 2020 at 2:53 p.m. | UPDATED: May 10, 2020 at 6:34 p.m.
A Castle Rock restaurant drew crowds Sunday when it reopened fully for Mother’s Day in defiance of Colorado’s public health order that limits restaurants statewide to takeout and delivery services.
Customers packed C&C Coffee and Kitchen on Trail Boss Drive Sunday, filling tables, a patio and forming a line out the door for dine-in service.
Gov. Jared Polis’ office on Sunday issued a statement calling such conduct illegal and dangerous.
“These restaurants are not only breaking the law, they are endangering the lives of their staff, customers, and community,” said the statement by deputy press secretary Shelby Wieman.
“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.”
At C&C, Nick Whitehill said he ordered food for what he thought would be curbside pickup and, when he arrived, was surprised to see the crowd.
“It was unbelievable,” Whitehill said.
Wearing a mask, he went in to pick up his order, which he’d paid for. But then he left, without his food, after realizing that staffers weren’t wearing masks that customers weren’t practicing social distancing, he said.
Douglas County officials have not required residents to wear masks inside businesses. Gov. Polis has recommended use of cloth facial coverings and has ordered “essential” employees statewide, including grocery store clerks and restaurant workers, to wear masks while interacting with customers.
Nick [email protected]
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Happy Mother’s Day from C& C in Castle Rock, where the owner said this is almost double a normal Mother’s Day.
12:51 PM - May 10, 2020
Whitehill posted photos of the crowd on the social media site Twitter to warn others not to go to the restaurant and to “shame” the eatery, he said.
“I wasn’t even going to eat the food even if I had gotten it,” he said. “I walked in, took the picture and turned right around.”
Whitehill said he also filed a complaint with the Tri-County Health Department, which has jurisdiction over Douglas County. Tri-County officials on Sunday couldn’t be reached.
C&C Coffee and Kitchen owner April Arellano did not respond to a request for comment Sunday, but a Twitter account for the restaurant declared it was reopening to stand “for America, small businesses, the Constitution and against the overreach of our governor in Colorado!!”
Arellano also wrote on Facebook that she “would go out of business if I don’t do something,” and said that “if I lose the business at least I’m fighting.”
“We are so behind,” she said in a comment on her post. “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.”
Arellano also posted a brief live video on her Facebook page showing the crowd in the restaurant.
“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.”
A spokeswoman for the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment said no one was available Sunday to discuss the restaurant’s reopening and what might be done about it, but said violating the state public health order is a misdemeanor, punishable by a fine of $1,000 or up to a year in jail.
Authorities also have said restaurants could have their licenses revoked for violating the order. Colorado residents are required to follow the statewide public health order that created guidelines for how businesses can reopen as Colorado enters the “safer-at-home” phase of the state’s response to the novel coronavirus pandemic.
Under that order, restaurants, cafes, bars and coffee shops cannot offer dine-in services until at least May 26, but can fill orders for delivery and takeout as long as they follow social-distancing protocols. Polis on Friday said he’d like to see Colorado’s restaurants reopen by the end of May, if not before Memorial Day.
Tri-County health officials last week shut down the Water’s Edge Winery in Centennial because it was allowing customers to sit at tables on the patio and was ignoring social-distancing measures, department officials said last Thursday. The restaurant reopened Friday for takeout and delivery services after the owner agreed to follow all public health orders.
Denver Post reporter Bruce Finley contributed to this report.