Wade and Abby Lancaster sat at Great Divide Brewery and Roadhouse in downtown Castle Rock on June 2 on their first sit-down lunch date in three months. As Wade enjoyed a plate of brisket tacos, Abby …
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Wade and Abby Lancaster sat at Great Divide Brewery and Roadhouse in downtown Castle Rock on June 2 on their first sit-down lunch date in three months. As Wade enjoyed a plate of brisket tacos, Abby munched on a Cobb salad.
The food was great, the couple said, and it felt good to be dining out again. The Castle Rock residents said they are still taking precautions amid the COVID-19 pandemic to prevent spreading the virus, but they feel enough precautions are in place to safely dine in at local eateries.
Since Douglas County got state approval to reopen restaurants on May 22, and statewide approval went into effect May 27, Castle Rock restaurants and cafés are re-opening their doors and looking to the community for support.
Justin Adrian, director of operations at Great Divide, 215 Wilcox St., said the community response to the restaurant’s grand re-opening on June 1 was positive.
It went “exceedingly well,” he said. “The public has been super-supportive.”
The restaurant and brewery pushed back its opening date because of the COVID-19 pandemic and is now focused on ensuring staff wear masks, heightening the cleaning and sanitizing restaurants typically do and giving guests as normal an experience as they can.
Adrian is not requiring guest to wear masks. “The biggest thing is respect people’s distance and giving them the space they want,” he said.
Ray Guth, who runs Briccy’s Coffee downtown at 140 S. Wilcox St., said the business is now operating on average at 65% its usual sales. The shop did curbside pickup and delivery during the shutdown of restaurants, during which he rang up between 20% and 25% his usual business. Briccy’s opened to sit-in the first day the government allowed, Guth said.
Guth expressed frustration with the shutdown of restaurants statewide. The state should have customized its pandemic response to each community, he said, and not relied on a one-size-fits-all approach.
Guth’s tables are spaced apart and he has monitored how closely his customers gather in throughout the pandemic, he said. But Guth believes the pandemic is blown out of proportion. He did not wear a mask at the coffee shop on June 3. Neither did an employee making drinks. Guth predicts the shortage of customers will continue in the coming weeks.
“It won’t stop until people take the face masks off and stop being fearful,” he said.
A handful of his customers on June 3 expressed the same view.
Castle Pines resident Norm Froman sat on Briccy’s patio with four other men discussing the pandemic. Among them was John Miner, a Castle Rock resident, who called it “un-American” to live in fear of the virus.
Froman said Douglas County never should have shut down. “They should have been concentrated on just the hotspots,” he said. “I should have been able to go to a restaurant a month ago.”
The shop’s survival depends on community support for local business, Guth said.
“Maybe I’ll make it, maybe I won’t,” Guth said. “I think the biggest message is to support local businesses.”
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