DENVER — The decision by Denver’s Mayor and by Boulder, Jefferson and Tri-County Health officials to extend their respective stay-at-home orders until May 8 disappointed countless business owners, but didn’t come as a surprise.
“It didn’t because I know people are being careful,” said Gary Mantelli, the owner of West of Surrender Saloon & Kitchen at 16th & Glenarm, in downtown Denver.
“Do we want to open?” he asked. “Absolutely, but I’m one of those people who believes we’ve got to take all the steps, and go at the pace that makes the most sense for it to go very fast once we do get open.”
Mantelli said he hopes the decision makers are looking at it from a perspective that if we do these things, it’s going to get us “moving very quickly towards being normal or what the new normal is going to be.”
Several business owners sent emails to customers touting what they had expected to be a re-opening on May 1.
The emailed ads which encouraged customers to call in, or go online to make an appointment, ended up being a tad too optimistic.
Tri-County’s order covers just Adams and Arapahoe Counties. Douglas County will follow the state’s stay-at-home order which expires Sunday. The state will then move to a safer-at-home initiative.
Tami Door, President and CEO of the Downtown Denver Partnership, said there’s been a great deal of focus on one specific day.
“The reality is, the bigger issues both nationally, statewide and locally, are really going to revolve around what does opening really look like,” Door said.
She said every business, every customer and every resident of the U.S. wants to get out of their home and “get back to life as we knew it.”
“That level of frustration is there,” she added. “It’s always been there, and will continue to be there beyond any change of date of the stay-at-home order.”
Door told Denver7 the one certainty is that there will be change.
“We will all open offices, and open businesses with a set of protocols we think will work in this new environment,” she said, “and we may find…that operationally, they don’t run as smoothly, they don’t meet the goal that we’re trying to achieve, and they have to be continuously addressed.”
Door said good business leaders and owners, and strong management within companies, and employees must all be open, flexible, innovative and forward thinking about how we get through this.
“This is going to be critical,” she said.
Door said what the business community and the nation are experiencing is unprecedented.
“There is no road map. It’s really, really hard, and we all know that,” she said.
Door concluded that what leaders, business owners and CEO’s need to do is look at what they know to be true, what they think is true, and not to forget what they hope to be true, put that all together and craft the best plan for the needs of their culture, front line workers, consumers and clients.
She said the U.S., the State of Colorado and the City & County of Denver were all built on entrepreneurship and innovation.
“Let’s not forget how we got here because we need know that so we can figure out where we need to go next,” she said. “The people of our city, as soon as it’s possible to get out, to go to work, to be part of the community and be part of this economy to really come out, in any shape or form that they can, in order to get us moving, because ultimately, it’s the market that is going to drive these businesses being able to get back up and running.”
Mantelli said he’s hearing from customers who can’t wait to come back.
“They’re chomping at the bit because they want to get back, and they’re family, so we miss them” he said.