MANITOU SPRINGS, Colorado — Colorado's COVID-19 dial is set to retire on Friday. The framework has been used by public health leaders to implement uniform capacity restrictions at various employers in response to rising cases of the virus. The governor is expected to sign a new executive order that grants more authority over virus response to local health leaders.
El Paso County Public Health told News 5 Wednesday on local leaders are not planning to implement any new capacity restrictions on businesses. As a result, many are getting ready to welcome customers at full capacity this weekend.
"We're ready to welcome everyone back, ready to sell some margaritas," said Nicole Gray, manager of the Loop in Manitou Springs.
She said her family-owned small business has been gearing up for more diners.
"We are definitely preparing for it, especially since we are one of the biggest buildings in Manitou, we've been used to all of the business here."
Customer safety remains a top priority. The city's mask order remains in effect. Grady said they've also installed Plexiglas dividers in between booths and they're working to get everyone on staff fully vaccinated.
"About 50 percent of our staff has already had at least the first shot for the vaccine and we're pushing for 100 percent," Gray said. "We've been updating them on a bunch of resources, places to go for the vaccine."
A bigger challenge at the moment is hiring enough help. Grays said in an ordinary year, they would begin to bring on additional help in anticipation of the busy summer rush. This year, hiring has been harder because so many other restaurants are looking for help at the same time.
"Right out of the pandemic and into the summer, that is the new part that we're dealing with," she said. "But we're used to recruiting and hiring every summer because we're very seasonal."
Like El Paso County, the City of Manitou Springs has not created local capacity restrictions to be implemented when the dial expires. However, a spokesman said that the City Council is monitoring the situation and may consider it in the future if the need arises.