Dozens of people pack into Castle Rock restaurant in face of public health order

Posted at 9:58 PM, May 10, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-11 13:02:43-04

DENVER -- While hundreds of restaurants across Colorado continue offering take out and curbside service in accordance with the standing public health order, C&C Coffee and Kitchen in Castle Rock had other plans for Mother's Day.

Video taken inside the coffee shop by Colorado Community Media shows booths packed, tables filled and a line snaking out the door. The owner of C&C Coffee and Kitchen declined to speak on the record with Denver7.

Dozens of people pack into Castle Rock restaurant in face of public health order

The governor’s office said that restaurants like C&C Coffee were breaking the law.

“These restaurants are not only breaking the law, they are endangering the lives of their staff, customers, and community,” spokesperson Conor Cahill said in a statement. “Under Safer at Home, restaurants, food courts, cafes, coffeehouses, and other similar places of public accommodation offering food or beverage for on-premises consumption are still closed. Delivery and drive-up service is available. Coloradans can contact their local public health department if they believe someone is violating Safer at Home.”

The Tri-County Health Department called C&C’s actions disappointing and said it was undermining the efforts of other Douglas County restaurants and residents.

“We are disappointed that C&C Breakfast & Korean Kitchen, a Cookies and Crema Company in Castle Rock, has decided to ignore the Governor’s Safer at Home order and open up yesterday with no attention to social distancing,” spokesperson Samantha Decker said in a statement. “This decision 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. As the entity charged with enforcing the Governor’s statewide Safer at Home Public Health Order, we will follow up with this restaurant to ensure that they, like other restaurants in the county, take appropriate steps to protect the public health, by limiting service to curbside and take-out service.”

House Minority Leader Patrick Neville, R-Castle Rock, posted on Facebook that he was among those at the café and said in a statement he had history with the café owner.

“The owners are great people. My wife was hit by a car in front of their place a couple years ago and they came to check on her and my daughters,” Neville said in a statement. “They brought my daughters hot cocoa and asked to pray for them. They made a lasting impression on my family and we wanted to show our support as they are providing for their families.”

About 50 miles away in Broomfield, Kaylee Irtenkauf, who was tailgating in the parking lot of Frolic Brewing Company, says she doesn't think it is the right time to fully reopen restaurants.

"I do think having a full dine-in service is still maybe not following so much of the guidelines that are put in place right now. I do think this is one step closer to something we can all still enjoy for the time being."

The owner of the brewery, Chris Miser, says they invited people to come to the parking lot outside their businesses and stay at a safe distance without offering dine-in services.

He’s frustrated big box stores are allowed to operate under different rules.

"I feel abandoned as a small business by our state and local governments because these other businesses can do these things but all the small businesses cannot do anything at this point," he said.

Video: Nick Puckett and Colorado Community Media