The Castle Rock restaurant that thumbed its nose at the state safer-at-home rule by serving diners without precautions Sunday will have its license suspended indefinitely, Gov. Jared Polis said during his regular coronavirus briefing Monday.
"We take the laws of our state seriously," Polis said. "As citizens and residents we don't have to agree with every law ... . We don't have the ability to violate laws and threaten others."
He said he was disappointed to see the Colorado Community Media video of customers dining in C&C Coffee and Kitchen without masks and closer than the 6-foot buffer advised by social distancing.
If the state doesn't act and more businesses follow suit, it will sicken more people and prolong the closures, he said.
"My administration will do what is necessary to preserve the rule of law in good times and bad," Polis said.
The governor spoke directly to small businesses.
"Colorado and America, we are better than that," he said, adding that customers will return en masse when they feel safe.
Polis thanked those Coloradans who resisted the temptation to hold Mother's Day celebrations Sunday.
He urged Coloradans to show compassion for their neighbors to stem the spread and save lives.
Polis spoke about individuals, by name, who are among the 981 fatalities and 19,899 confirmed cases and 981 deaths so far. He said the number could be as much as four times higher, because of the limits on testing — 106,700 so far.
"There are hundreds of grieving families across Colorado," Polis said Monday.
About 1 in 10 people who get the virus are likely to need hospitalization, Polis said, adding that the normal flu never does that, the governor said.
The state's stay-at-home order expired two weeks ago, yielding to safer-at-home guidelines with looser restrictions. The data on illnesses and the spread of the virus will guide Colorado forward, Polis said.
"I don't think any restaurant owner in the state wants to reopen then close again in two weeks," he said of the potential for resurgence, as Colorado moves past its peak of infections.
Polis said Monday Coloradans control their own destiny in getting out from under social distancing requirements, as he announced a timeline to look at data that determines whether the coronavirus epidemic has wanted.
The safer-at-home restrictions could relax in June, if people work together, he said.
"If people aren't taking just precautions, it will show up in the data," he said Monday. "You're not tricking anybody ... We control our destiny."
He said the state's decision on allowing restaurants to offer dine-in services based on data on May 25, if the public and restaurants have demonstrated they're willing to take precautions.
Polis said state parks can now allow camping again, by reservation only.
He urged people to take food and other supplies from home and resist interacting with other people to limit the spread. State parks have remained open,
"We know the outdoors are a big part of our way of life in Colorado," Polis said.
He is going to Washington Wednesday to meet with President Trump — traveling on a commercial flight, wearing a mask, the governor said. Trump extended the invitation and Polis said there was no way he could say no, given the needs and his hope to impress the gravity of the situation "in the real world" to Trump.
"It's important for him to hear what's really going on on the ground," Polis said Monday.
Polis said the state needs another week or two to assess the impact of the relaxed restrictions, but the stay has to move forward with the data is had.
We don't want another wave to set us back from our goals," he said, citing the sense of morale, rescuing the economy and protecting public health.
C&C Coffee and Kitchen warned customers with a sign on the door Sunday urging them to go elsewhere if they were scared.
The Colorado Restaurant Association is discouraging restaurants from opening in conflict with the state guidelines, risking penalties, closures and fines. The association is urging clearer guidance on reopening.
“Every day that restaurants remain closed makes it less likely that they'll be able to reopen in the future," Sonia Riggs, the association's CEO told Colorado Politics Sunday.
This isn't the first act of defiance in Douglas County, where conservative pushed back on the Tri County Health Department's push from the start.
On April 25, the group I'm a Trumpster put on a birthday party in Parker to celebrate Melania Trump's 50th birthday party.
Though organizer said it would include social distancing and face coverings, video after showed that wasn't the case. An organizer said masks were available, but participants made their own choices about wearing them and how close to stand to one another.
Early Monday on social media, Polis posted a CNN story about a coronavirus cluster in California liked to a birthday party, sickening family members and friends. The party was in violation of the state's stay-at-home order.
"It was selfish behavior that could have been avoided," Lisa Derderian, a spokeswoman for the city of Pasadena, told CNN.
Colorado is not unique with opponents of the closures testing authorities' patience on enforcing the law. Some states have been tougher, including a hair salon operator in Texas who was jailed.
Monday, CNN reported on Hawaii's strict measures, that offer a sharp contrast to the goings on in Douglas County:
"Roving neighborhood police patrols. Uniformed soldiers manning checkpoints," the network reported on its website. "A vast surveillance network of hotel staff and health department officials on the lookout for anyone breaking quarantine.
"This isn't an authoritarian dictatorship. It's the U.S. state of Hawaii..."