Colorado restaurant draws crowds after reopening in defiance of state order

A restaurant in Castle Rock, Colo., is attracting viral attention as footage circulates showing its business packed with customers on Mother’s Day despite a state order requiring restaurants to reduce their businesses to delivery options and drive-up service amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Videos picking up traction on Twitter on Sunday show the local restaurant, C&C Coffee and Kitchen, loaded with customers, many of whom could be seen not wearing a mask, as recommended by government and health officials, or adhering to social distancing guidelines.

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In a live Facebook video documenting the large turnout on Sunday, April Arellano, whom The Denver Post identifies as the owner of the establishment, could be heard saying: “I’m sure a lot of people are wondering like what the turnout ended up being.”

“This,” she says as she pans the camera around a room of packed tables, “and then a line down the street.”

“So much for some of those people saying nobody would show up,” Arellano, who does not wear a mask in the video, added, smiling. “And our patio’s full too. Thank you, thank you, thank you so much for this support guys. I gotta get back to work. Have a great day.”

Footage captured of the restaurant's reopening prompted "Castle Rock" to surge to Twitter's top list of trending items on Sunday night.

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Though the stay-at-home order issued in Colorado to help mitigate the spread of COVID-19 expired on April 26, non-critical businesses that have since been allowed to reopen under the state’s “Safer at Home” guidelines must still operate with certain restrictions in an effort to prevent flare-ups of the disease in the weeks ahead.

A spokesperson for Colorado Gov. Jared PolisJared Schutz PolisProtesters surround Aurora Police precinct after photos emerge of officers mocking Elijah McClain's death Officer involved in taking pictures mocking Elijah McClain resigns Colorado governor closes bars amid rise in virus cases MORE’s (D) office told The Denver Post on Sunday that “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 spokesperson continued.

Polis’s office also pushed back against restaurants they said were “breaking the law” in the statement.

“These restaurants are not only breaking the law, they are endangering the lives of their staff, customers, and community,” the representative said.

According to The Denver Post, those who violate the state’s public health mandate can face jail time or a fine of up to $1,000. 

One customer told the local newspaper that he’s filing a complaint with the local department over the apparent violation at the business in Castle Rock.

“I wasn’t even going to eat the food even if I had gotten it. I walked in, took the picture and turned right around,” he told the paper.