Reader: Arbitrary Rules Are Killing Local Bars and Restaurants

inside the Rio Grande in Park Meadows on December 26.EXPAND
inside the Rio Grande in Park Meadows on December 26.
Patricia Calhoun
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The Rio Grande at Park Meadows — a link in a Colorado chain that got its start in 1986 — reopened its dining room on December 26, to 25 percent capacity. All over Douglas County, restaurants are applying to be certified by the county, which was approved by the state for the 5 Star Certification Program. That allows businesses that agree to enhanced safety guidelines to move down a notch on the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment COVID-19 dial.

Under Level Red, restaurants are only allowed to offer outdoor dining, takeout and delivery. But under the 5 Star program, certified restaurants can operate at Level Orange rules, which allow dining rooms to reoperate at limited capacity.

Douglas County isn't the only Level Red county to apply for 5 Star certification. Larimer County got the nod right before Christmas, too; Summit County, where more than a hundred bars and restaurants now have open dining rooms, was the first to be approved by the state. And others are applying...although Denver, which could qualify given current COVID-19 numbers, has yet to do so.

Readers have mixed feelings about the 5 Star program, though, as evidenced by comments on the Westword Facebook page post for "Season's Eatings! Some Douglas County Dining Rooms Reopening."

Says Rachel:

This is why we can't bring this shit under control. Every time we start making progress, we let our guard down. And the people eating at restaurants now will be the same people whining and blaming everybody else if cases surge again and we have to go into a real lockdown.

Responds Michele:

These restaurants do NOT need to open at 25 percent capacity. They need their rent and utilities paid, while the owners, and employees sit home and collect decent amounts of unemployment.

Counters Sara Ann:

Arbitrary restrictions are killing our local bars and restaurants. This is sad.

Adds Greg:

Arbitrary rules and enforcement says it all.. screw the restaurant/bar owners and let the big boxes stay wide open... it’s bullshit.

Suggests Peter:

Restaurants got shafted during the development of COVID safety protocols. I think it’s ridiculous that I can be crammed into a commercial flight shoulder to shoulder, but these mom-and-pop restaurants can’t even serve at a reduced capacity.

Concludes Joe:

More openings than closings this month, as there have been almost every single month this year, even during a pandemic. The "oh woe is me, the sky is falling" doomsayers are proven wrong by the facts, once again. Keep it rolling, Governor Polis, you're doing the best job you possibly could do with terrible national leadership.

What do you think of the new 5 Star program? Would you eat in a dining room?

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