Garfield County authorities on Wednesday ordered the Rifle restaurant owned by Republican congressional candidate Lauren Boebert to stop serving in-person diners after Boebert defied repeated law enforcement requests to comply with state rules intended to slow the coronavirus outbreak.
Citing "ongoing violations of the statewide Safer at Home order," county officials obtained a temporary restraining order against Shooters Grill and served it on Boebert Wednesday night after she ignored a cease-and-desist order on Tuesday, a county spokeswoman said.
"Diners were allowed to finish their meals, but no additional patrons were allowed entry," a county press release said.
Under the terms of the temporary retraining order, which is in effect until a May 18 district court hearing, Shooters Grill can continue offering curbside pick-up and take-out service, the county said.
Boebert, who is challenging five-term U.S. Rep. Scott Tipton in the June 30 GOP primary, on Thursday morning sounded a defiant note and announced that she had resumed serving customers at tables arranged on a make-shift patio in front of the restaurant.
Noting that Gov. Jared Polis boasted during a Wednesday meeting with President Donald Trump that Colorado is reopening, Boebert said that "small business owners like me who don't have Washington, D.C. lobbyists are getting crushed and being treated like criminals" while major retailers are allowed to welcome customers under state guidelines.
"How is it safer to walk the aisles of Wal-Mart than to eat a meal at Shooters Grill? I've tried very hard to be safe, kind and courteous, but our livelihoods are on the line and we need to take action," she told Colorado Politics in a statement.
"I don't have time for highly-paid bureaucrats to make decisions, I need to make payroll."
A spokeswoman for Garfield County said Thursday that the county's public health department was reviewing Boebert's decision to continue serving dine-in customers.
Boebert told Colorado Politics she kept her restaurant at 30% capacity since reopening on Saturday and submitted a formal reopening plan to the public health department.
"I have gone through all the proper channels," she said in a text message. "I am doing this responsibly. This is reality for my staff and I. We need to get to work. That is not unreasonable."
The county on Monday submitted a letter to Polis asking the governor to issue an executive order allowing county restaurants to open at 30% capacity, noting that the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the largely rural county "has been minimal."
"We have worked with the construction industry, grocery and convenience stores, the essential businesses that are identified in your plan, since February," the county commissioners said. "All have complied but now they are demanding to expand their businesses to a reasonable level for their very existence."
The county is also asking the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment to approve a variance from state orders, like one in effect in neighboring Mesa County, which has allowed restaurants to open at 30% capacity.
Polis said last week that he plans to review data in late May to determine if restaurants can begin to reopen statewide.