Boulder Mulls Dining, Parking Changes to Ease COVID Economic Fallout

Boulder residents were allowed to adopt Safer at Home measures last Saturday after six-and-a-half weeks under stay-at-home orders to limit the spread of the novel coronavirus. KGNU’s Roz Brown reports that county health officials had mostly positive news for Boulder City Council last night.

Listen to the report below:

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Boulder County Director of Public Health Jeff Zayach told Boulder City Council that the growth in daily COVID-19 cases peaked on April 27 and has been dropping since. Zayach said as of Tuesday, there were 775 county cases, with 144 hospitalized, 297 recovered and 54 deaths.

“Again, our long-term care facilities are where the majority of folks are dying locally, and we have an entire team working on that to support facilities and doing everything we can to control the spread in those facilities,” said Zayach.

Zayach noted that the number of positive cases could increase as the county begins offering more testing. He emphasized that maintaining a distance of six feet from others, avoiding large gatherings and wearing face coverings is still recommended to avoid infection.

He also addressed a situation that gave Colorado a black eye this week in its response to the pandemic. The C&C Breakfast and Korean Kitchen in Castle Rock opened its doors to guests on Mother’s Day, in violation of the Governor’s orders. Zayach told city council it’s the kind of nightmare that keeps him up at night.

A screen shot of a Twitter video taken by @nick__puckett at The C&C Coffee + Kitchen in Castle Rock on Mother’s Day.

“If you saw the pictures – and I think they said it was the largest crowd that restaurant had ever had – those people were very close to each other and there was no masking.”

Social media video and multiple news stories showed the packed restaurant. Zayach explained why the scenario is so concerning.

“If we had someone who was positive in that restaurant, it’s really challenging to figure out who was exposed and how we’d do contract tracing, said Zayach. “It would take a lot of work and time to track all those people down and figure out who may have symptoms and who is isolated and quarantined. That’s the kind of spread and scenario we don’t want because it will prevent our businesses, our economy and our community from moving forward.”

The Douglas County restaurant has since had its license revoked.

Restaurants expect to hear from Governor Jared Polis on May 25 about policies for how restaurants can operate going forward. With that in mind, city council discussed temporary right-of-way changes that would allow outdoor sit-down dining around town, with separation among patrons, and maybe even liquor service, if the state allows. Parking changes could also be adopted with some sections of streets or alleys closed to traffic to create more outdoor seating with the goal of getting restaurants back on their feet.