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Colorado orders restaurant closed after dozens packed into restaurant in face of public health order

Posted at 12:41 PM, May 11, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-11 19:33:58-04

While hundreds of restaurants across Colorado continue offering take out and curbside service under the standing public health order, C&C Coffee and Kitchen in Castle Rock had other plans for Mother's Day.

Following the restaurants defiance of state orders, officials are forcing the restaurant to close for 30 days.

Video taken inside the coffee shop by Colorado Community Media shows booths packed, tables filled and a line snaking out the door. The owner of C&C Coffee and Kitchen declined to speak on the record with Scripps station KMGH.

The governor's office said that restaurants like C&C Coffee were breaking the law.

"These restaurants are not only breaking the law, but they are also endangering the lives of their staff, customers, and community," spokesperson Conor Cahill said in a statement. "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 are available. Coloradans can contact their local public health department if they believe someone is violating Safer at Home."

House Minority Leader Patrick Neville, R-Castle Rock, posted on Facebook that he was among those at the café and said in a statement he had a history with the café owner.

"The owners are great people. My wife was hit by a car in front of their place a couple of years ago, and they came to check on her and my daughters," Neville said in a statement. "They brought my daughters hot cocoa and asked to pray for them. They made a lasting impression on my family, and we wanted to show our support as they are providing for their families."

About 50 miles away in Broomfield, Kaylee Irtenkauf, who was tailgating in the parking lot of Frolic Brewing Company, says she doesn't think it is the right time to reopen restaurants fully.

"I do think having a full dine-in service is still maybe not following so much of the guidelines that are put in place right now," Irtenkauf said. "I do think this is one step closer to something we can all still enjoy for the time being."

The owner of the brewery, Chris Miser, says they invited people to come to the parking lot outside their businesses and stay at a safe distance without offering dine-in services.

He's frustrated big box stores are allowed to operate under different rules.

"I feel abandoned as a small business by our state and local governments because these other businesses can do these things, but all the small businesses cannot do anything at this point," he said.

Video: Nick Puckett and Colorado Community Media

KMGH's Ivan Rodriguez originally reported this story.

Johns Hopkins Center for Systems Science and Engineering