CO Restaurant That Defied State, Hosted Huge Mother’s Day Crowd Ordered Closed

CASTLE ROCK, COLORADO - MAY 11: A customer leaves C&C Coffee & Kitchen on May 11, 2020 in Castle Rock, Colorado. The cafe decided to open to the general public and unexpectedly hundreds of people showed up bo... CASTLE ROCK, COLORADO - MAY 11: A customer leaves C&C Coffee & Kitchen on May 11, 2020 in Castle Rock, Colorado. The cafe decided to open to the general public and unexpectedly hundreds of people showed up both on Sunday Mother's Day, and Monday to support the local Castle Rock cafe. (Photo by Helen H. Richardson/MediaNews Group/The Denver Post via Getty Images) MORE LESS
May 12, 2020 9:56 a.m.
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Local health authorities ordered closed a Colorado restaurant that opened for eat-in dining in violation of the governor’s COVID-19 orders.

C&C Breakfast & Korean Kitchen hosted a brunch crowd of hundreds on Mother’s Day as the restaurant advertised its defiance of Colorado’s COVID-19 order against in-person dining at restaurants.

The restaurant even tweeted at the President, saying that it was “standing for America, small businesses, the Constitution and against the overreach of our governor in Colorado!”

Video of the restaurant from Colorado Community Media’s Nick Puckett went viral, sparking outrage at the crowded conditions.

The Tri-County Health Department, the regional public health authority, said in a statement that it issued an order to close C&C at 12:30 p.m. local time Monday — “after warning the restaurant on Friday not to open and reminding them they are only allowed to do take-out and delivery.”

“The restaurant was ordered to close immediately and to remain closed until such time as the Tri-County Health Department (TCHD) determines the establishment is in compliance with the Public Health Order 20-28,” Tri-County Health said, referring to the state public health order barring “on-premises consumption” at restaurants and bars.

Gov. Jared Polis (D) said later Monday that C&C’s license would be suspended for at least 30 days — even if the suspension outlasts the public health order against reopening restaurants for eat-in dining.

“It’s unfortunate that the owners and the employees of C&C Coffee and Kitchen will have to suffer the economic loss of a prolonged closure when other restaurants across the state are likely opening and welcoming customers,” Polis said. “It’s really unfortunate that they’ll remain shuttered indefinitely until they can resolve the health hazard.”

And yet the restaurant remained open Monday, according to local reports, and it wasn’t clear whether or how the regional health authorities or the state would enforce its closure.

“I heard Polis ripped us a new one, I don’t know. I didn’t hear it,” C&C co-owner Jesse Arellano told NBC affiliate KUSA.

“I know they’re trying to punish us,” Arellano added. “They’re gonna try to make us an example, which is fine. We’re willing to accept that.”

Tri-County Health executive director John M. Douglas, Jr. said in a statement that it was “disheartening” that the restaurant had chosen to flaunt public health orders “and not even consider implementing best practices to prevent the spread of COVID-19.”

“It is not fair to the rest of the community and other business owners that are following Safer at Home and doing their part,” Douglas 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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