DENVER (CBS4) – Since the pandemic began, Colorado restaurants have lost $ 3 billion, according to the Colorado Restaurant Association. Once the state publishes its vaccine distribution plans, they work to ensure that industry workers get a place in line sooner rather than later.

“We sent a letter to their office more than a month ago, and I checked into them weekly,” said CRA President Sonia Riggs.

(Credit: CBS)

This week they learned that restaurant workers, along with other key workers, such as those in grocery stores, are now entering Phase 1B.3. You are eligible from the age of 65 after vaccination of teachers.

For business owners who have tried to face ever-changing COVID-19 restrictions, this is welcome news.

Paula Vrakas owns Roxy on Broadway, a bar-restaurant and music venue that made one last attempt to stay open in November.

“I’ve laid off over half of my employees,” she said.

Shortly thereafter, she decided to temporarily close the doors and for months the staff has been gone and utilities have been turned off to save money.

General Manager Cody Wade says it was her only way to secure a future at all.

“It just didn’t make sense to limit yourself to a small outdoor terrace in the middle of winter,” he said.

(Credit: CBS)

According to Wade, this is exactly what they need to hear that restaurant workers now have a vacancy for the vaccination if they plan to reopen on Feb.11.

“If they can all be vaccinated at this point, it will be just another level of comfort assurance, and I really hope the general public will have more confidence in the return,” he said.

They represented an industry that accounts for 10% of the state workforce, according to Riggs, and given their unique interaction with the public, wondered why they weren’t among other key workers at first.

“The other thing I should remember here is that restaurant staff serve food to people who have to take off their masks to eat and drink. You don’t see that in some of these other frontline situations, ”Riggs said.

Wade sees it as a step in the right direction, something they haven’t seen in a while.

“It’s a little bit of sunshine in this big storm we’ve had lately,” he said.

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