State health officials on Monday indefinitely suspended the business license of a Castle Rock restaurant that opened to large Mother’s Day crowds, Gov. Jared Polis said.
C&C Coffee and Kitchen’s license will likely be suspended for at least 30 days, Polis said, because the reopening caused an “immediate health hazard.”
The state’s action came after the Tri-County Health Department on Monday ordered the restaurant to close until it complies with the statewide COVID-19 public health order limiting restaurants to take out and delivery services.
“I hope, I pray that nobody falls sick from businesses that chose to violate the law,” Polis said when announcing the suspension. “But if the state didn’t act and more businesses followed suit, it’s a near guarantee that people would lose their lives and it would further delay the opening of legitimate businesses.”
Tri-County said it warned C&C Coffee and Kitchen on Friday not to open for Mother’s Day, but the restaurant opened for dine-in services anyway, according to a statement from the health department.
“If the restaurant refuses to follow Governor Jared Polis’ public health order, further legal action will be taken that could include revocation of the restaurant’s license,” the statement said.
The restaurant drew national attention after it opened Sunday, with a crowd of customers filling all the tables, a patio and forming a line outside the door. No one was practicing social distancing inside the restaurant and very few people wore masks in photos and video that circulated on social media.
Owner April Arellano has not responded to multiple requests for comment from The Denver Post and it was not clear Monday whether she would comply with the order.
Arellano previously wrote on her Facebook page that she “would go out of business if I don’t do something,” and said “if I lose the business at least I am fighting.” She posted a brief live video from inside the restaurant thanking customers for showing up. That video is no longer publicly available.
A Twitter account for the restaurant said it was reopening to stand “for America, small businesses, the Constitution and against the overreach of our governor in Colorado!!”
Restaurants and bars in Colorado have been limited to take-out and delivery services since March 19 due to the novel coronavirus pandemic. The health department received four complaints about C&C Coffee and Kitchen, a spokeswoman said Sunday.
John Douglas, executive director of the Tri-County Health Department, said in a statement Monday that C&C Coffee and Kitchen’s reopening was “disheartening.”
“It is not fair to the rest of the community and other business owners that are following Safer at Home and doing their part,” he said in the statement. “We sincerely hope that C&C will choose to cooperate with the rules under which they are allowed to operate so we can lift this closure order.”
This is a developing story that will be updated.
This content was originally published here.