Colorado’s Department of Public Health has been heavily monitoring COVID cases across all business sectors since the beginning of the pandemic. From shutting down entirely to transitioning back to full capacity, restaurants and food services have been constantly adapting to ever-changing rules and regulations.
A recent update from the State Health Department allows the food industry to operate at one hundred percent capacity, but while this may sound like good news, six-foot distancing rules are still proving to be a difficulty.
Four Winds Coffee and Tea is a local restaurant in Grand Junction that is grappling with the changes, “We are still not at one hundred percent capacity just because of the way our building is laid out. If we were to put all of the tables and chairs back in here that we used to have, we’d be just a little too close to maintain that 5-star rating,” says Will Kuhlman, the Director of Four Winds.
The Colorado Restaurant Association’s studies show that Four Winds is not alone, “Even though cities would say, or counties would say, we’re at one hundred percent capacity; with those six-foot distancing requirements they were really closer to fifty percent or less,” says Sonia Riggs from Colorado Restaurant Association.
While restaurants like Found Winds are hopeful as restrictions lift, they are still prepared to enforce pandemic rules for the foreseeable future, “We’re all getting tired of the masks and requirements and stuff like that, but our opinion here is that we don’t want to just walk through the finish line. We want to finish the race, run hard,” continues Kuhlman.
Businesses are still asking that you wear your mask inside if you are not vaccinated, and maintain a safe distance from one another. The resilience and adaptability of restaurants like those in Mesa County are the reason the community is opening back up at the rate that it is.