Caldwell and Morgen Harrington, a brewer and co-owner of Grimm Brothers Brewhouse, spoke at the press conference on behalf of representatives from “65+ companies” who signed a letter declaring they will continue to operate by the rules of Level Yellow COVID.
As of Tuesday afternoon, representatives of 62 companies had signed the letter, although in some cases more than one person signed on behalf of the same company.
Larimer County operated below yellow level but moved to red level, as of 5 p.m. Tuesday, after the Larimer County Board of Health on Friday voted to change from orange to red – a decision the ‘State would demand in a week.
This level reduces the capacity of many businesses and forces restaurants to close their dining rooms and limit themselves to limited outdoor and take-out restaurants.
Caldwell and Harrington have said their businesses and employees will not survive further restrictions and closures, and they don’t believe Larimer County’s coronavirus figures support the tightened restrictions. They spoke about the need for economic and socio-emotional health as well as physical health.
“It’s not political”
Representing the list of businesses that signed the letter – from restaurants and breweries to event centers, gyms and real estate agents – the two business owners asked Larimer County Public Health Director Tom Gonzales and the Larimer County Department of Health and Environment, to come to the table and work. with them on a solution to stop the spread of the virus while keeping businesses open.
“It’s not political,” Harrington said. “It’s because we care about our community. We don’t want our staff to suffer because we are not doing the right thing. ”
She also said: “We care about those affected by COVID, but we also care about those who will be affected by a shutdown. It can’t be one way or the other. There has to be a conversation between our health department and small business. ”
Harrington and Caldwell have suggested that Larimer County implement a state-approved program for Mesa County in which public health officials rank businesses on a five-star system based on their safety during the pandemic. Trade restrictions are then determined by the individual circumstances of each restaurant, store or gym rather than general rules across all establishments.
Caldwell said he works hard to keep his business clean and safe and that he will support this type of framework, allowing him to keep his employees at work and the community safe. He said his downtown restaurant was sanitized so much that “I could do surgery here and make a lot more money.”
He challenged Gonzales and the health department at the press conference to come to the table to discuss the filing system in place in Mesa County.
About an hour later, across the county at a meeting in Fort Collins of the Larimer County Commissioners’ Council, Steve Johnson asked Gonzales to do the same.
Johnson, one of the commissioners-elect, said he spoke to Gov. Jared Polis on Monday about the idea and said the governor made no promises but was “very, very encouraging,” describing the five-star method as a good model.
“I know you share my frustration that Level Red portrays all these companies with the same brush and fundamentally penalizes them. … I think they could and should work safely, ”Johnson said.
As Gonzales’ staff are stretched out like paper, Johnson said he would try to provide further assistance if Gonzales asks Polis to approve a similar classified program for Larimer County.
“Time is running out here,” Johnson said. ” It’s urgent. A number of companies have told me that they cannot afford to lose this business over the holiday season. ”
Gonzales said county staff planned to meet with representatives from the Loveland and Fort Collins Chambers of Commerce later Tuesday to see what they might come up with to make such a request.
“I’m always open to innovative ideas where we can be creative and ensure the protection of public health,” Gonzales said, adding that he would need help to make this work.
“Our public health workforce is completely thin. … I can’t put the staff on this. If our chambers and our economic development staff could start working on this, that would be great.
Also on Tuesday, all of the state lawmakers who represent Larimer County – two senators and four representatives – sent a letter to Gonzales, Polis and the commissioners urging them to act quickly to implement and approve the five-star system of the Mesa County in Larimer County.
“I will survive ♫”
Caldwell and Harrington, at the press conference, hoped Larimer County officials would step up and implement a filing system, which they say is fairer than the general rules that came into effect at 5 p.m. Tuesday. . However, they and other companies are taking a stand.
When restaurants and breweries had to shut down their indoor options in person, they said they wouldn’t. They would continue to operate as they have for the past few months, under the yellow level rules, in a way they believe is safe and will keep their businesses from dying.
Caldwell said he supports personal choice and responsibility and believes that businesses can stay open and the community can stay safe.
He said it made no sense to close restaurant dining rooms but to allow people to line up in big box stores.
And he said he stood up for the rights of small businesses and their employees, for fair treatment and for the needs of the community as a whole.
“Don’t step on me,” Caldwell said. “I will survive ♫. My people will survive. My community will become stronger. ”
When asked if he would take the matter to court if necessary, Caldwell replied that he would “take it wherever I have to”.
Health officials are aware of the rejection from business owners and have said those who choose not to comply with health orders risk losing their licenses.
Polis, at a press conference on Tuesday, also stressed that all businesses – including those in Loveland that say they do not follow Level Red’s restrictions – must follow all Colorado laws, including these temporary health orders. public, or risk their operating licenses.
“This could be a devastating result for small businesses,” Polis said.
The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment has instead urged companies to comply, saying in a written statement that it is important to protect “our friends, families and communities” in an era of increase. cases of coronavirus and stressed hospital capacity.
“Enforcement usually begins at the county level, but the CDPHE can issue cease and desist orders, which if denied, may result in legal sanctions,” a department spokesperson wrote in an email. . “The state can also temporarily suspend a business license if the business does not comply with state laws.
“As we see increased pressure on our healthcare facilities, this is a matter of concern statewide.”
The list of companies that had signed the letter, saying they would continue to operate under the yellow level rules, as of 1 p.m. Tuesday, as they appear on the list, were as follows:
- Brasserie Rock Coast
- Drätz Brewing Co.
- AKA Kitchen
- Jorgensen Laboratories, Inc.
- Blue Mesa Lounge and Boutique
- Berthoud Brewing Co.
- Marine of the North of Colorado
- Betta Gumbo
- Ellis Ranch Events Center
- Real estate agent
- Darling city races
- Loveland Athletic Club
- redefine the cut
- Chambre Wicked Tequila
- Agence d’assurance Dave Orr Inc.
- Big Beaver Brewing Company Ltd.
- Grid Cactus
- Mortgage loan officer
- Northern Colorado Carpets
- Krow Hill Digital LLC
- Loveland et South Lifestyle
- American Dream Property Solutions
- Catalyst inspections
- Brasserie Grimm Brothers
- Loveland Yoga et Core Fitness
- Fresh plate catering
- Big Thompson CrossFit
- Agence Jacob Fellure
- Hands down massage
- Adams Chiropractic and Wellness
- Mini tote storage
- Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory
- Insurance benefit
- The beauty salon and boutique
- Nu-Reflections Medspa
- Resident Mark E. Wright
- Jon-Mark C. Patterson PC
- Edgetronix LLC
- Wooden mountain gymnasium
- R & D companies
- Kait’s Cleaning LLC
- Remodelage CNC
- Ace of trades
- Premier Gymnastics
- Nettoyage Wendy’s Way
- All restart services
- Performances SCR
- AquaTerra LTD
- Tab companies
- Start to finish construction
- Colorado Earth Works
- Grinding ax
- Electric Callahan
- Empire Painting LLC
- Mountain border
- Mini storage J and B
- Weimer Construction LLC
- Aqua Bay Tanning
- CJ Patio Grill
- Senor Rafael at the Mexican Inn
- Loveland Chophouse
- McGraff American Grill