UPDATE: Food License Suspended, Garfield County Applies for Variance

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RIFLE, Colo. – UPDATE: Garfield County has requested a variance from the state’s safer-at-home order following neighboring counties Mesa and Montrose.

The Garfield County Board of Commissioners endorsed a variance request to the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment Friday, which asks to open restaurants, places of worship, fitness facilities and gyms at 50% occupancy, as well as allowing recreation areas to open and outfitters to start up, and opening large tourist attractions at 30% occupancy.

The full variance request is available online at Garfield-County.com.

This variance couldn’t come at a better time for Shooters Grill in Rifle, which was notified that its food license has been suspended.

The restaurant, which was defying guidelines and orders from the county to stop offering dine-in services, was notified about the suspension just after 5 p.m. Friday.

The owner of Shooters, Lauren Boebert, said the Health Department issued the suspension.

This comes after Shooters was served with a cease and desist order earlier in the week, and a temporary restraining order from the county on Wednesday for refusing to comply with the statewide safer-at-home order.

Boebert said that while she will not serve food, her tables will remain outside for anyone who wants to bring their lunch.

She said she’ll be attending a hearing on Monday.

“We have a hearing already scheduled for Monday at 9 a.m. for the restraining order that was served with the cease and desist and we’ll see how we talk about getting my food license back,” said Boebert.

We will keep you updated with the latest information regarding Shooters Grill and health guidelines in Garfield County.

The City of Rifle is giving businesses the green-light to use a portion of the city sidewalk with certain conditions, that’s according to Rifle Police Chief Tommy Klein.

Officials with the City of Rifle and Garfield County Public Health did not return our calls for comment.

Thursday we reported Shooters Grill was defying Garfield County Public Health’s orders to stop dine-in services.

“I was served by Garfield County Sheriff’s civil deputies a cease-and-desist for dine in services,” said Lauren Boebert, owner of Shooters.

Boebert has been fighting county and public health guidelines.

“I got to work on Thursday morning and I looked around and said, I was issued a cease and desist for dine-in service, so let’s take it to the street and now we’re offering dine-out services,” said Boebert.

According to Boebert, the Chief of Police saw the new set-up, which was partially in parking spots, and instead of shutting it down completely, he contacted the City of Rifle.

“He said I see you have a pretty wide sidewalk, let’s talk with the City of Rifle and see what we can do,” said Boebert.

Lauren says the city offered businesses the opportunity to utilize city sidewalks with conditions.

“I have never been more proud to be a business owner in Rifle, Colorado, the city officials in Rifle had a plan together in less than an hour,” said Boebert.

Now the sidewalk is packed outside of Shooters with folks ready to order off the menu and across the street, Jalisco Grill is planning to do the same thing.

“They said we can use the sidewalk to set up tables, you know, 6 feet apart,” said Armando Vidrio, owner of Jalisco Grill.

“We’re cleaning right now, you know, sanitizing to set up tables,” said Vidrio.

So far, Armando said he can set up 10 tables, but he’s aiming for more.

“I think about 20 from the corner to down there,” said Vidrio.

According to Vidrio, his team supports their neighbors, but they don’t want to be shutdown.

“Because we are the same industry, you know, we support them but we want to do everything right,” said Vidrio.

And many locals are showing their support for Shooters and other local businesses.

“I think it’s great, I mean, you can tell that they’re taking precautions and they want to keep everybody safe and they want to keep everybody healthy,” said local business owner Justin, “So as long as people are conscientious, but I think it’s good that we are re-opening up all the businesses again.”

And many business owners are grateful.

“These are the most loyal, patriotic and supportive customers we have ever encountered during our seven years of business, I’m so grateful for everyone who has come out,” said Boebert.

And for future customers looking for Mexican food, Jalisco Grill is looking to open as soon as possible.

“We do margaritas, we serve Mexican cuisine, so come back and try us, we are Jalisco Grill,” said Vidrio.

Police Chief Klein made it clear that the permits are not for dining or operations, they only giving businesses permission to utilize the city sidewalks with certain conditions, like making sure the sidewalk is not completely blocked off and making sure walkways are still wheelchair accessible.

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