GRAND JUNCTION, Colorado. – Shooters Grill in Rifle received a cease and desist order from the Garfield County Public Health Department and the Rifle Chief of Police on Tuesday after reopening its dining room against guidelines from the Garfield County Health Department.
Shooters began opening its dining room at 30% capacity on Saturday and has served hundreds of customers so far.
Owner Lauren Boebert decided to go against guidance from the City of Rifle, the Garfield County Public Health Department and County Commissioners by opening up the dining room.
The restaurant prides itself on being a safe place to eat because each staff member is armed.
The team is now focusing on a different type of safety, according to Boebert, they’re following CDC guidelines.
“Our city wants us open,” said Boebert, who’s also running for Scott Tipton’s congressional seat in June, “my employees are essential, this is business is essential to them and they need to get back to work.”
Boebert said she’s taking a stand for freedom.
“To quote one of my favorite founding fathers, Thomas Jefferson, I prefer dangerous freedom over peaceful slavery and that’s where we’re at,” said Boebert.
According to Boebert, she submitted her safety plan ahead of the reopening.
“There’s no difference between someone sitting at my table eating for 20 minutes or going to a salon and sitting in a chair for an hour and a half and getting their hair done,” said Boebert.
Boebert said she’s been patiently waiting for the county to submitted a variance to the state.
“I have gone through all of the appropriate steps that I felt were necessary to open, I have contacted all the administrations that I feel are in authority to make these decisions,” said Boebert.
Now, she said she has no choice.
“Either we close because we can’t afford to stay open, or we close because the state is mandating that,” said Boebert.
The restaurant employees are practicing social distancing.
“Six foot spacing between other tables,” said Boebert, “our waitresses are wearing masks when they’re in close contact with customers.”
When asked about the Payroll Protection Program, Boebert said she chose not to participate.
“They wanted me to take a loan to pay for the people that they caused to be unemployed so we’ve done everything that we can to take care of our employees on our own without government handouts,” said Boebert.
Instead, Boebert is choosing to fight.
“This is unconstitutional and I think it’s time more than ever that the people of America understand the power that we have,” said Boebert, “Just because governor Jared Polis, who thinks that he’s a King, decides that some businesses are essential and some are not and wants to choose winners and losers through government, doesn’t make it right.”
The congressional election that Boebert is currently campaigning for is taking place in June.
UPDATE: A correction was made to this story at 8 pm MT on Wednesday, May 13th, 2020. The Garfield County Public Health Department and the Rifle Chief of Police issued the cease and desist order, not the Garfield County Sheriff’s Department.