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Blake Street Tavern not closing, after all

The owner had said the sports bar would close Jan. 1, but Denver's move to Level Orange changed his plans.

DENVER — The Blake Street Tavern announced last month that it would be closing Jan. 1 due to restrictions because of the pandemic, but Denver's move to Level Orange on the COVID-19 dial has changed those plans.

The sports bar, located a block away from Coors Field, posted to social media on New Year's Eve that it would not be closing as previously announced.

"The resumption of indoor dining at 25% is a lifeline to getting back to who we are!" says a post from the bar on Facebook.

The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment announced on Wednesday that counties in Level Red had "reduced viral transmission to a point where we can provide economic relief and move them into level Orange."

Under Level Orange guidelines, restaurants can operate at 25% capacity with a maximum capacity of 50.

RELATED: Some counties in Red on COVID-19 dial to move to Orange

On Dec. 20, the Blake Street Tavern had posted to its Twitter account that it was closing on Jan. 1 and hoped to reopen "when the Indoor Dining ban is lifted or if State’s Tent guidelines are modified."

Owner Chris Fuselier said in another tweet that Blake Street Tavern "ran out of bullets and COVID's economic consequences sidelined us."

"One of the most heartbreaking days of my life," Fuselier added in the tweet. "To announce I’m closing our business (I’m praying it is temporary) and furlough another 25 staff before Xmas, there are no words to describe."

On Thursday, after the Level Orange announcement, Fuselier said on Twitter, "We are most excited to welcoming back our 35 furloughed staff that have been on the sidelines since indoor dining was banned on November 20."

The bar's owner is criticizing another state decision: to not include restaurant workers in Phase 1B for COVID-19 vaccinations.

Gov. Jared Polis announced an expansion of to the state's vaccination plan to include teachers, grocery store workers, seniors and others in Phase 1B, but not those in the restaurant industry.

RELATED: Next phase of vaccine distribution expanded to include teachers, grocery store workers, seniors

"CO Restaurant workers are treated so shabbily ... that we aren't even spelled out as a specific industry to receive the vaccine," he said Saturday on Twitter.

Throughout the pandemic, Fuselier has criticized public health orders such as the shutdown of indoor dining, as overly restrictive, resulting in the closures of restaurants and unemployment for their staffs.

Blake Street Tavern was among several plaintiffs in July that requested a temporary restraining order to block an executive order by Gov. Jared Polis requiring bars to hold last call at 10 p.m. A judge denied the request.

Fuselier was an early supporter of a mask mandate, using his social media account to push for a statewide order, which Polis announced in July.

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