A Colorado restaurant that opened for in-person dining in violation of the state’s COVID-19 orders hosted hundreds of people for Mother’s Day breakfast and brunch this weekend.
C&C Breakfast & Korean Kitchen in Castle Rock, hosted about 500 people on Sunday, local Fox affiliate KDVR reported.
Video of the scene from Colorado Community Media’s Nick Puckett showed nary a mask in sight as diners stuffed the restaurant to the gills. C&C’s owner said the crowd was almost double what they’ve seen on past Mother’s Days, Puckett reported.
Happy Mother’s Day from C& C in Castle Rock, where the owner said this is almost double a normal Mother’s Day. pic.twitter.com/cPSzjmAfAg
— Nick Puckett (@nick__puckett) May 10, 2020
“I’m healthy,” one diner told the reporter. “I’m in good shape, and I don’t think it’s as serious as they say.”
Tagging President Donald Trump on Twitter, the restaurant said in a tweet Saturday that it was “standing for America, small businesses, the Constitution and against the overreach of our governor in Colorado!!”
“Attention!” read a sign on C&C’s front window. “Our freedom doesn’t end where your fear begins. If you are scared stay at home! If you are afraid to be within 6ft of another person do not enter this business!”
Dotted with diners in Americana and Trump hats, the restaurant operated at standing room only on Sunday: Occupants milled around in- and outside of C&C, rubbing elbows and waiting for service.
A “bouncer” at the restaurant’s door sported a hip-holstered handgun — effective against rowdy brunchers, perhaps, but useless against a viral plague. Among the diners was Colorado House Minority Leader Patrick Neville, of Castle Rock, who was criticized in March for saying that the COVID-19 orders issued by Colorado’s Jewish governor, Jared Polis, had led to a “gestapo-like mentality.”
Enthusiastic as the diners were, polling indicates they’re in a minority.
A Magellan Strategies poll of Coloradans commissioned by Healthier Colorado and the Colorado Health Foundation and conducted from April 15-21 found that 64% of Coloradans supported measures to slow the spread of coronavirus, even business closures, while more widespread testing becomes available. That number was the same among Coloradans who lost a job, worked fewer paid hours or saw their income decrease due to COVID-19.
More recent national polling broadly shows similar support for stay-at-home measures and concerns about “reopening” local businesses too quickly.
One diner, who’d ordered a curbside pickup meal from C&C and arrived to see the assembled crowd, left without his meal out of concern about the lack of social distancing at the restaurant.
“It was unbelievable,” Nick Whitehill told the Denver Post.
The Tri-County Health Department, the local public health authority, told Denver CBS affiliate KCNC that the restaurant’s decision to serve eat-in diners “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.”
But Tri-County officials, like others around the country who’ve sought to enforce social distancing orders, are facing pushback: One TCHD office has been vandalized several times in recent weeks, Denver NBC affiliate KUSA reported last week. An emailed threat to the department last week included the line, “you’re about to start a hot-shooting no bulls*** civil war.”