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For some local restaurants, 'failure is not an option' in coronavirus crisis

Posted at 6:49 AM, Mar 19, 2020

COLORADO SPRINGS — Stories of financial hardship keep coming out as more local businesses are facing the reality of uncertainty over the coronavirus. At El Padrino Mexicano in Colorado Springs, the dining hall is empty and chairs are stacked up against booths and tables.

"As far as not having the dine-in business, my mind went to staying positive and how are we going to make this work," said Justin Caligaris, owner and operator. "Failure is not an option," he said.

Grant Reed also owns and operates the restaurant. Reed says the staff has been cut, and only two chefs cook and prepare the meals.

"We just had to break the bad news that until this is over there is really nothing we can do," Reed explained. "We just gave them the resources they need to work themselves through this tough time."

El Padrino Mexicano has always offered take-out services but not like this.

"We've already had enough in place to do take-out orders but not on this scale," Reed said.

Despite an empty bar and an empty dining hall, waiter and bartender Brandon Smith still makes sure he's on time to work every day.

"This how I live, and this is what I do to pay my bills and to be on my feet to get to work. This is what I take pride in," Smith said.

Smith's friend, who is also a waiter, hasn't been so lucky. Smith says his friend had to move back home with his parents because he got let go over coronavirus fears.

"I'm feeling for all restaurant workers that are out of work," Smith said. "Luckily I am still in this position, and it just gives me hope to be here still."

One way to help local businesses like El Padrino Mexicano is buying gift cards or gift certificates to use later.

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