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Health officials closed a restaurant in Colorado on Monday, one day after it opened to large crowds despite a public health order limiting businesses in the state to takeout and delivery services amid the coronavirus pandemic.
C&C Coffee and Kitchen drew hundreds of people on Sunday for its Mother’s Day rush, and it appeared that in some cases social distancing was not enforced.
Colorado Gov. Jared Polis announced on Monday that the Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) determined the restaurant caused “an imminent health hazard.”
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“CDPHE is using its authority under the Colorado Food Protection Act to suspend the license of the business indefinitely until it can be established that there is no longer a threat to public health,” his office said in a statement.
He added the business — located about 30 miles south of Denver — would likely for suspended for at least 30 days, according to the Denver Post.
“I hope, I pray that nobody falls sick from businesses that chose to violate the law,” Polis said when announcing the suspension. “But if the state didn’t act and more businesses followed suit, it’s a near guarantee that people would lose their lives and it would further delay the opening of legitimate businesses.”
The restaurant’s owner, April Arellano, had previously said she would go out of business if she didn’t “do something.”
“I expected it to be busy. I never expected this,” owner April Arellano told the Castle Rock News-Press on Sunday.
Colorado Gov. Jared Polis makes a point during a news conference to update the state’s efforts to check the spread of the new coronavirus on Monday in Denver. Polis announced that a restaurant in Castle Rock, Colo., that opened Sunday in defiance of state rules barring in-person dining will have its business license suspended temporarily for the action. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)
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A resident who went to pick up food at C&C Coffee and Kitchen on Sunday described the lack of social distancing as “unbelievable.” He reportedly left without paying after seeing the crowds.
“I wasn’t even going to eat the food even if I had gotten it,” he told the paper. “I walked in, took the picture, and turned right around.”
Under the state’s safer-at-home mandate, residents are not required to stay at home, and non-critical business are currently operating with certain restrictions to limit the spread of the virus.
A health official previously the Denver Post yesterday that violating the state’s public health order could result in a $1,000 fine or up to a year in jail. They added businesses that violate the order could also have their licenses revoked.
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While delivery and takeout options are available if restaurants follow social distancing guidelines, the order says dine-in services cannot be offered until at least May 26.