LOVELAND, Colo. — Larimer County is now in "Level Red" on the state’s COVID-19 dial. For restaurants, that means no more indoor dining. Curbside, takeout and outdoor dining would still be an option.
Many businesses owners in Loveland say they aren’t willing to comply with the new guidelines that come with being in the state’s "Level Red."
"I’m calling on all the businesses of Loveland, Colo., to stand up for your right to survive," said owner of Betta Gumbo, Clay Caldwell.
Caldwell says his constitutional right to survive is being threatened by the state and Larimer County Health Department's decision to move to "Level Red."
"The board of health jumped the orange level to go to red by using the numbers from the state, not from our own county, and then Loveland is even less," Caldwell said. "That’s foolishness."
Larimer County Public Health said that’s not the case and that the county's positivity rate is 12.1%, compared to the state’s 12.3%. Loveland is also second to Fort Collins when it comes to number of COVID-19 cases.
For Morgen Harrington, owner of Grimm Brothers Brewhouse, outdoor dining isn’t a viable option because of their limited space. She’s hoping this move to not comply with new guidelines opens a dialogue that finds a different solution.
"This isn’t us versus the health department," said Harrington, who also wants people to know this is not a political move by any means. "This is our community saying this isn’t right and this isn’t the way to handle this problem."
It’s a stance the Loveland Chamber of Commerce agrees with and says in no way is this meant to minimize the seriousness of COVID-19.
In a statement they say, in part,“We are asking the county and the governor’s office to consider allowing us a variance option with the 5-star variance program that Mesa County health and chamber put into place back in august as a way to continue to do business in a safe and effective manner.”
"It’ll be a death sentence for quite a few businesses if they shut down again," Harrington said.
The list of businesses against the new decision has continued growing throughout the day and many of them fear they won’t be able to survive if they’re forced to operate under the "Level Red" guidelines.