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Spikes in COVID cases close some Denver metro restaurants

Colorado Restaurant Association is hearing restaurants are closing right now because staff is testing positive.

COLORADO, USA — Multiple eateries around the Denver area are closing their doors temporarily because of COVID-19 outbreaks.

This weekend was supposed to be one of the busiest for Cart-Driver in Denver, but the doors at the restaurant's two locations are locked. 

"Every day seems like a new issue is coming up," said Brian Wilson, a chef for Cart-Driver. 

The most recent problem for the restaurant are new COVID-19 cases among staff. On Wednesday, the business decided to close its doors temporarily.

"When one of us gets sick the likelihood of at least another person if not multiple getting sick is super highly likely," said Wilson. 

Unfortunately, Cart-Driver is not alone. The Colorado Restaurant Association hears lots of restaurants won't be open for the holiday because staff is testing positive, including vaccinated and boosted staff. 

"Restaurants continue to be hyper-vigilant about the health and safety of their teams and their guests, so these closures make sense in light of how contagious the omicron variant appears to be," said Denise Mickelsen, Communication Director for Colorado Restaurant Association. "We are also hearing about owners prioritizing their workers’ mental health with these closures, as it’s been a stressful and tiring two years since the pandemic began." 

According to their Instagram page, Ash'Kara in Denver is closed for a couple of days out of an abundance of caution because a staff member was exposed to COVID-19. 

"Shut restaurants down and allocate those resources to the bench so other stores where there was a positive case or two we could move people around and support them," said Juan Padro, the CEO of Culinary Creative Group, which operates Ash'Kara. 

Padro wants to keep as many businesses open as possible, but he doesn't want to stress staff even more. 

"Let's support the other businesses and make sure they can function with healthy staff that's been tested," he said. 

More than one-third of owners said business conditions for their restaurant are worse now than they were three months ago, according to the Colorado Restaurant Association.

"As of this fall, one-quarter of all restaurants worried they might close permanently in the coming months if business conditions didn’t improve… and that was feedback they gave us in September, before anyone had ever heard of the omicron variant," said Mickelsen.

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