Colorado restaurants appear to be tanking by the thousands and more than half of owners surveyed predict they’ll have to close for good if business restrictions imposed by Gov. Polis are not lifted in the next few weeks.
Even before the pandemic, restaurants struggled to keep up with statewide minimum wage hikes imposed by the Democrat state legislature.
In addition to mandated wage increases and the pandemic, restaurants face increased taxes for a state family and medical leave fund if that ballot measure goes to voters and is approved in the Nov. 3 election.
Yet it was the last call for alcohol mandated by Polis that was the last straw for 200 bars and restaurants in the Colorado Tavern League.
They are suing Polis and the state Department of Public Health and Environment to overturn the decision to stop selling alcoholic drinks at 10 p.m., which Polis says will slow the spread of the coronavirus.
Sonia Riggs, CEO of the restaurant association, told Colorado Public Radio that restaurants and bars are desperate to stay in business.
“They have bent over backwards to comply with public health guidelines, and they are losing hope — and they don’t feel like their governor is listening to them.”
The association’s survey in early June found that 56% of restaurants predicted they would close if business working conditions did not improve within three months.
That was about the same time mainstream media reports made restaurant owners who dared rebel against the Polis regime look like right-wing nut jobs.
And it’s probably the reason one of those rebels, Rifle restaurant owner Lauren Boebert, knocked off incumbent U.S. Rep. Scott Tipton in the GOP primary for the 3rd Congressional District.
The Colorado Sun took a comprehensive look at the state of Colorado’s restaurants in the time of COVID-19 and their findings this week are grim.
According to the latest data from the state’s Department of Revenue, the number of food and drinking establishments filing sales tax returns dropped 19.3% between March and May, to 10,604. That indicates that about 2,500 have either closed temporarily or for good.
At some point, Polis and the Democrat legislature will have to acknowledge their policies are having disastrous effects on the food service industry and find ways to reverse the trend.
They’re about to discover that restaurant owners aren’t a bunch of right-wing kooks, but hard-working voters of every political stripe willing to vote the Democrats out of office.