LOVELAND, Colorado (CBS4)– When Governor Jared Polis pushed COVID-19 health policies to every single county as Colorado slowly reopened, some companies across the state faced higher standards than their counterparts in the immediate vicinity. As of Friday, Polis allowed each individual district to decide which criteria companies must follow within the respective district boundaries.
Counties like Douglas, Weld and Elbert decided to lift all restrictions. That meant Coloradans would not need social distance or lower capacity in licensed facilities.
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While some applauded the three wards for reopening completely, others thought it was a jerky response that would harm public health.
In the center are the shops, especially the restaurants, which stretch across the county boundaries and which are violated.
“(Counties that set health restrictions) haven’t changed our restrictions,” said Jaimie Nordhagen, general manager of Nordy’s BBQ in Loveland’s Far East.
Nody’s, a popular restaurant that had regular full-capacity nights before the pandemic, has been operating at 70% capacity for months. Although Polis said the counties could make their own decisions as COVID-19 cases are lower, Larimer chose to keep them the same.
Nordy’s is an important junction from the Weld and Larimer circle lines. An imaginary line in the dirt prevents them from fully opening their business and making full profits again.
“With distancing, you fill up much faster than expected,” Nordhagen told CBS4’s Dillon Thomas.
While that sounds like a good thing, Nordhagen said it diminishes their ability to make the profits they hope for. Reduced capacity due to distancing means guests sometimes have to be turned away.
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“We were very busy. However, given the restrictions on how many people we can accommodate within two meters, this was a challenge, ”said Nordhagen.
Nordhagen said she believes the different standards based solely on geography are unfair to business owners who work hard to keep their employees on payroll.
However, not everyone is on the same page about how businesses should function. Some customers at Nordy’s told CBS4 it was time to allow full capacity, while others said it was safer to keep the distance.
“It’s strange rules that don’t make sense,” said Tim Hager, a Nordy customer who lives in Larimer County. “Shouldn’t we care about the more vulnerable people? I think we did that. It’s time to open up. “
On the contrary, Mike Smitham of Weld County said it would be best for the general public if the restaurants kept their distance for a few more months.
“I want this to be as bad as everyone else. But I just don’t think we’re ready. It’s still too busy, ”said Smitham.
Nordhagen said a few months ago Nordy’s was in a second round of layoffs. The staff was cut after Polis forced the districts to close again due to COVID-19 infection rates.
Since then, she has worked to hire any staff who wanted to return. She said that despite the distancing currently being enforced, she was able to employ more workers. While she hoped one day soon to have the same freedoms as Weld County, Nordhagen said they will continue to operate under the restriction imposed by Larimer County.
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“We are so excited about our colleagues in Weld County that they are able to do business, be open, and make decisions. We’re not there at the moment. We will follow the guidelines and hope that we can get there shortly, ”said Nordhagen.