In our last issue we updated our readers that on June 30th Gov. Polis ordered the closing of bars, nightclubs due to an uptick in COVID-19 cases, with the exception of bars that also function as a restaurant could stay open. Luckily for quite a few of our biker related stops such as Dirty Dogs, The Stagecoach, Takoda Tavern and The Piper, food comprises of over 45% of their sales. Our hopes were that they had dodged a big bullet that could have potentially caused many of these establishments to just not re-open at all.
However, on July 21st, Gov Polis struck another blow to bar/restaurants by mandating a 10pm last call for alcohol for 30 days. Bars/restaurants can stay open past 10pm, but they must stop serving alcohol.
The question is what does this mean for our local biker restaurants and bars? I spoke with 2 bar owners in Aurora and Golden who said this will have an adverse effect on their businesses. “We are still trying to overcome the last 60 shutdowns; I don’t know how we will survive this.” Another bar owner who asked to remain anonymous said, there is no data to support this type of 10pm cut off of alcohol, and it is hard to not feel profiled by the Polis, when you see hundreds of protesters in the 20-29 age bracket protesting every single night. Why can they gather all evening, and our patrons cannot have a beer after 10pm.
Polis said he typically disagrees with last call laws that bars, nightclubs, and restaurants must stop serving alcohol at 2 a.m. in Colorado.
If you want to get drunk, nobody is saying alcohol causes coronavirus, it doesn’t. Have three or four people over in your home, and a small event with them, not 40 people in your home, and not at a bar/restaurant. So, there’s a safer way to do these things in a pandemic. I know part of the fun is being around 80, 100 people, we cannot do that now. Learn the new way, learn to do three, four or five people … have fun in a safe way.Colorado Governor, Jared Polis
A group of more than 200 bars and restaurants in Colorado filed a lawsuit against Gov. Jared Polis (D) and the state’s Department of Public Health and Environment to block coronavirus guidelines that ban alcohol sales after 10 p.m. and limit capacity.
The Tavern League of Colorado filed the lawsuit on Thursday in a Denver district court, alleging that bars and restaurants have been singled out for “unfair and different treatment” and arguing there is no evidence suggesting they are contributing to the spread of the disease, according to report from Colorado Public Radio.
“We are extremely disappointed with the action Governor Polis took,” Stephanie Fransen Hicks, executive director of the Tavern League, said in a statement. “Restaurants and bars have gone above and beyond to keep both employees and patrons safe and continue to aggressively follow all health and safety guidelines.”
Colorado Rider News will continue to keep you updated as more information becomes available.
From the Owner of Wrigley’s Chicago Bar and Grill
By Skip Perry
The 10pm liquor curfew is just an additional means by our democratic government (Polis) to devastate the restaurant and bar industry in Colorado. You would think with the ten-week shut down from March 17th through May 27th the powers that be would help us out in every way possible. According to the CRA (Colorado Restaurant Association) over 20% of Bars and restaurants did not reopen after the initial shut down and with current restrictions upwards of 57% would end up throwing in the towel by the end of September. These are not just small brand-new bars and restaurants that have just opened in the last year or two. Its large restaurants including well known chains, small restaurants, and sadly many Mom & Pop restaurants that have been in business for decades. The reopening in May albeit a joyous announcement at first, came with many dire restrictions that almost certainly will doom many in our industry. The first and most consequential being “occupancy at 25% to 50% of normal with a maximum total of 50-100 customers” depending in which County your business is in. Imagine you are a bigger venue that holds 400-2000 customers, we have the Buff in Golden and so many in Denver, how can you possibly operate and pay bills let alone keep employees? Let us get back to the 25%-50% occupancy put on all of us. What business can stay afloat doing only 50%?
What if you told your insurance agent, real estate agent, your grocery stores, your gas stations, your airlines, Amazon, Home Depot, etc. they could only service 25-50% of their customers? Do you think they would stay in business? The restaurant industry has a nationwide mortality rate of over 50% for new restaurants after one year and 80% fail by their fifth year. It goes without saying in a perfect economy the restaurant and bar business is as tough to succeed as any business. We in our industry are hanging on by our teeth. We have let many employees go, we have cut back on products making menus smaller, we have made cuts wherever possible to keep our doors open. So, what does the governor do to help us? He says, “you can sell drinks to go so people can drink and drive!” What the hell!!! That is not a help (the rewards are not worth the risk) and puts us at an extremely high risk and makes us vulnerable to lawsuits should accidents happen. When he first announced that new guideline, I said he must be trying to put us out of business!!! Now he comes up with alcohol sales after 10pm are the cause of the rise of covid-19!!! I believe he has a dart board and randomly throws darts every month to see what his next decision will be. Unfortunately, he always manages to hit the bar and restaurant industry. Does he have any accumulated data to validate these new laws? I think not!!! Do people randomly congregate more after 10pm than a normal happy hour 4-6? Do people drink more from 10pm-2am than 6-10pm? Does the Corona Virus wait in hiding and attack at 10:01pm? I wholeheartedly believe these rash decisions do not have any merit and cannot be substantiated with empirical data. In a nutshell the 10pm liquor curfew will take 100’s if not 1000’s of dollars a day away from each owners business in a struggling/dying industry, and will be the straw that breaks the restaurant/bar camel’s back!!!