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Punch Bowl Social Stapleton took over the old airport tower.
Punch Bowl Social Stapleton took over the old airport tower.
Amber Boutwell

Reader: What If They Called It Punch Bowl Social Distancing?

The current Colorado rule that limits restaurants to 50 percent capacity or customers at a time — whichever is less — is a killer, restaurateurs told the Colorado Restaurant Association in a recent survey. Ten percent of the state's restaurants won't even try to reopen under that restriction, according to the CRA. And 56 percent of the respondents say they might have to close within three months if they have to continue operating under those capacity guidelines.

Some restaurants aren't waiting that long to close. Last week, Meadowlark Kitchen revealed that it will not reopen; the Med, an institution in Boulder, is also gone. And the Punch Bowl Social at Stapleton, a link in a homegrown chain that went national, is grounded for good. (The original at 65 Broadway will reopen, however.) While fans of those places mourn their passing, others debate the new rules in general.

Says Bev:

Honestly, they need to let places open as they see fit ... people (customers) can choose for themselves if it's too busy or they don't feel safe or have enough 'distance.' Ruining the economy and all these small businesses is not going to do anyone any good.

Notes Kristen: 

It's going to be really hard to survive with no income for several months, then only 50 percent of income for who knows how long. The landlords became so greedy before the pandemic, charging outrageous rents, for commercial and residential. They would be so much better off trying to renegotiate than have that property sit empty.

Suggests Joseph: 

This is culling small business from the herd and paving way for cooperate giants. Not suggesting a conspiracy, just saying it works out that way.

Growing into a corporate giant didn't save this Punch Bowl Social, though. Says Gretchen:

So disappointing! The outdoor area was so fun for families (a little pricey, for sure) but so fun! I'm sorry to see it go.

Counters Tanya:

 They never really took off; the menu constantly changed, service was hit or miss and the cacophony of screaming kids and hammered parents made it undesirable to everyone but drunk parents and their kids.

Asks John: 

What if they called it Punch Bowl Social Distancing?

We've already listed some of the other independent restaurants that won't return: 20th Street Cafe, the Market, Tom's Diner, the Cereal Box, Brasserie Ten Ten, Via Perla. Chains have also taken a hit: the Oceanaire Seafood Room, Morton's and Tony Roma's downtown are all gone; Rubio's Coastal Grill has closed its six metro locations.

Have you been to restaurants since the new rules were introduced? What did you think? Post a comment or email editorial@westword.com.

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