Restaurant owners react to ‘High Risk’ Safer at Home phase as COVID cases rise

Coronavirus

EL PASO COUNTY, Colo. — Restaurants in El Paso County are taking a step since the county issued a change to Level Orange, the Safer at Home High Risk phase.

“We were kinda preparing for it but when the news came out we knew it was going to be a little bit tougher,” Owner of UVA Wine Bar in Colorado Springs Elizabeth Blakeley said.

Restaurants can serve indoors at 25% capacity or up to 50 people and outdoors with six feet between parties.

“Be ready to dine outside. We have lots of seats outside and a huge patio,” Blakeley said.

This setback, Nina Lee, owner of 503w said is something she has been open and honest with her employees about. She said they regularly can hold 91 customers at occupancy but with this change they will only be able to have 22 customers inside.

“This year I think we can all agree has been a year of uncertainty. It’s been pretty stressful,” Lee said.

El Paso County has by 5 p.m. on Friday, November 13 to fully implement these changes. 

“We greatly appreciate the efforts of El Paso County Public Health to implement a mitigation plan to reduce our COVID-19 numbers,” Colorado Springs Mayor John Suthers said. “Unfortunately, the data is showing that our current level of restriction is not enough to stop the rise in cases and hospitalizations, and CDPHE has moved El Paso County to a more restrictive level. This is concerning for our businesses and especially our restaurants. I am hopeful that with the cooperation of our residents, leadership of our health department, and commitment by our businesses, that we can reverse the trend of COVID-19 infections quickly and return to a more open economy.”

Safer at Home level in the dial limits personal gatherings not otherwise covered by Public Health Order 20-36 Safer at Home Dial to 10 or fewer people from no more than two households. During the month of November, CDPHE is asking individuals to interact only with people from their own households. 

“We are urging our community to come together to prevent and slow the spread of COVID-19, by focusing on what they can do right now,” said Susan Wheelan, El Paso County Public Health Director. “Small actions lead to a broad community impact, and the only way we are going to get through these difficult times is working together and everyone doing their part. We greatly appreciate everyone in the community and our many partners who have been doing all they can to slow the spread of COVID-19.” 

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