Old Colorado City restaurants adapt to new Level Red restrictions

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COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — Restaurants in El Paso County are bracing themselves for a new wave of lockdown measures.

The measures went into effect on Friday at 5 p.m. For now, indoor dining will be no more in El Paso County.

“It’s all right, man, we got this,” said Jake Topakas, owner of Jake and Telly’s Greek Taverna. “We did it before and we’ve been trained on how to do it,”

Under these new restrictions, indoor dining is closed and restaurants will have to do takeout, curbside delivery, to-go, or outdoor dining as long as they meet current social distance guidelines.

Bon Ton’s Cafe in Old Colorado City will be adding heaters to its outdoor dining section, but it’s unclear if it will enough.

“There’s a lot of uncertainty, especially for my employees,” said owner Catherine Barb. “I’m afraid we won’t have enough business take out, and customers won’t be wanting to sit out in the cold.”

Jake and Telley’s has had to lay off employees. They say they are focusing on takeout and taking advantage of outdoor dining by adding new features.

“I’m having a company connect from the current awning and do another whole awning on the southeast and east side which will enclose about 70%-80% the patio with walls that flop all the way down to the ground and I had seven heaters installed,” said owner Jake Topakas.

Topakas said the new features will help increase restaurant capacity post-COVID-19. In the meantime, he is focusing on doing his part to keep employees and customers safe.

“It doesn’t matter what my opinion is, if the public feels safer following the governor’s guidelines, then let’s make them happy,” he said. “It’s not always about us all the time. It’s about us as a whole.”

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