A Colorado restaurant packed with customers over Mother’s Day weekend in violation of state health orders and without social distancing practices in place has been ordered shut by officials for “causing an imminent health hazard.”
C&C Coffee and Kitchen in Castle Rock had its license suspended indefinitely on Monday “until it can be established that there is no longer a threat to public health,” Gov. Jared Polis (D) announced.
The decision followed a video posted to social media showing crowds swamping the restaurant and dining in, violating the state’s restrictions. Hardly anyone was seen wearing a mask, as required under the state’s “Safer at Home” policy.
Dr. John M. Douglas, Jr., executive director of the Tri-County Health Department that oversees Castle Rock, publicly admonished the restaurant’s actions. His office issued the closure order for the eatery, located about 25 miles south of Denver.
“It is disheartening that this restaurant has chosen to move ahead of the public orders and not even consider implementing best practices to prevent the spread of COVID-19,” he said in a statement.
The restaurant on Saturday tweeted at President Donald Trump that by opening for dine-in customers, it was “standing for America, small businesses, the Constitution and against the overreach of our governor in Colorado!!”
“I expected it to be busy. I never expected this,” April Arellano, who owns the restaurant with her husband, told the Castle Rock News-Press on Sunday. “I’m so happy so many people came out to support the Constitution and stand up for what is right.”
Attempts to reach the restaurant’s owners for comment Tuesday were not immediately successful.
The business had been warned on Friday not to open for dine-in guests, health officials said. Restaurants throughout the state are limited to take-out and delivery orders under Colorado’s “Safer at Home” policy — a more relaxed policy that went into effect on May 4. The general public is also instructed to wear a face-covering or mask when they leave their home and to connect with neighbors and loved ones virtually.
“If folks are doing a good job at social distancing, staying at home, and wearing masks or facial coverings when going out, it will show up in the data, and we will excitedly remove additional restrictions on our economy,” Polis said Monday. “If not, some communities could be forced to look at implementing additional temporary restrictions.”
The state’s previous and more stringent “Stay-at-Home” order issued in March had been unsuccessfully challenged in federal court by a Denver man who accused it — like Arellano — of violating his constitutional rights. The U.S. Supreme Court last week said it would not take up a similar case brought against Pennsylvania’s stay-at-home order.
Should C&C Coffee and Kitchen continue to operate, it could face further legal action, including having its license removed, Douglas said.
“It is not fair to the rest of the community and other business owners that are following Safer at Home and doing their part,” he said. “We sincerely hope that C&C will choose to cooperate with the rules under which they are allowed to operate so we can lift this closure order.”
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