Pueblo business owners frustrated at move to Level Yellow

Pueblo County has been operating in Level Blue for roughly 2 months.
Posted at 6:15 PM, Apr 07, 2021
and last updated 2021-04-09 11:02:08-04

PUEBLO — Pueblo County is now operating in Level Yellow on the state's COVID-19 dial. However, since the county moved to Level Blue two months ago, the state's restrictions for each level have changed.

"It's been a roller coaster," said Lara Craddock, owner of the paint-your-own-pottery studio Fire Playce.

"We don't really know where we fit on the scale. We realize that when people come in and paint they're spending a couple of hours with us, so we figured we're probably more of a restaurant."

Another business owner just down the street from Fire Playce says the constant back on fourth is "kind of upsetting and unfortunate". Mauriel Scher owns Squawk Coffee shop and had not even been notified about the update until a customer told her the morning that Level Yellow had been put into place.

“We’re finally getting to the point where we’re getting ahead and then it’s like, by the way we’re going to shut down again.”

According to the most recent chart outlining the restrictions, "effective April 4, 2021" restaurants and seated indoor events in Level Yellow can return to 50% capacity or 150 people per room, whichever is less.

The update to Level Blue states that restaurants and seated indoor events can operate at 100% capacity, a change that neither Craddock or Scher were informed of until checking the dial again today to prepare for the move.

"The dial didn't even exist in May, and then all of a sudden... We had this thing where now we're in levels. Well, what's the levels? How do we know what the colors mean? It just doesn't make any sense to a normal human we're like… Can't you just be a little more straight forward for us?" said Scher.

On top of the dial move, the state previously noted that they will be retiring the entire COVID-19 dial system on April 16. The Pueblo County Health Department issued a statement to News 5, clarifying that the county's move back to Level Yellow was the state's decision. Currently, Pueblo County is at 177.9 cases per 100,000 people and the county needs to be below 100 to stay in blue.

"The dial framework Public Health Order remains in effect through April 16 at which time the Governor may devolve the dial to local control. At that point, City and County officials along with PDPHE will make decisions about extending restrictions or not based on hospitalizations, vaccination uptake and other indicators that are specific to Pueblo County," read the statement.

With the dial being dismantled in just over a week, Scher believes businesses in Pueblo won't be motivated to abide by the dial's restrictions.

“Honestly I feel like a lot of people won’t even jump back. They probably won’t even put any new restrictions in place because they’re like, I did it for a year!”

The entire list COVID-19 Dial requirements and restrictions can be found here.