CASTLE ROCK, Colo. — A Castle Rock businessman this week bought lunches for anyone who showed up to the restaurant he was visiting in return for eating that lunch outside Tri-County Health Dept.'s offices to protest restrictions on businesses.
Castle Rock, located in Douglas County, is under Level Red COVID-19 restrictions, meaning restaurants are closed to in-person dining, retail stores must reduce capacity to 50% and gyms and fitness centers must reduce indoor capacity to 10%.
Nate Ormond, who owns a business across the street from the Ecclesia Market in Castle Rock, has spent the last week protesting those business restrictions.
“These [restaurant owners] cannot survive," Ormond said. "If they make it through the winter, I'd be very, very surprised — a lot of these small mom and pop restaurants."
Ormond added that he wants Tri-County to "be reasonable."
Dr. John Douglas, executive director of Tri-County Health, said he understands business owners' frustrations.
"I understand their concerns and their feelings," Douglas said. "There's actually a pretty sizable body of evidence that restaurants or indoor dining do provide a place where transmission can readily occur.”
Robert Burley, the owner of Garlic and Spice, which is housed in the Ecclesia Market in Castle Rock, said the recent restrictions have quieted his once-busy lunch spot.
"There's uncertainty, [you] know,” Burley said. “I think the business is clearly a concern.”
While Burley’s business woes weigh on his mind, he said that not's the primary concern that has kept him up the last six nights.
"My daughter is in the hospital, my newborn daughter, she had surgery at 30 hours old,” he said.
Burley's restaurant was among those Ormond purchased lunch for people willing to protest at Tri-County Health. Ormond, a regular at Garlic and Spice, purchased $2,000 worth of meals from Garlic and Spice Thursday.
As long as these restrictions remain, Ormond said he encourages everyone to shop local as well. The protest group also raised nearly $4,000 dollars for the owners of Garlic and Spice and their hospitalized daughter, Gabby.
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