Greeley pub says they’re ‘stuck in the middle’ between state rules and county enforcement

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GREELEY, Colo. — A pub in Weld County lost its liquor license this week for violating the state’s rules on indoor dining, despite the owner claiming he was told he was in the clear to “operate safely” by county officials.

“We’ve been in contact almost daily with our county, our county commissioners, our health department,” Bulldog Grub & Pub owner Brandon Bird said. “The county has said I’m good, operate safely.”

So that’s what he did. Wearing masks, with PPE, distancing and sanitizing, Bird says he welcomed limited diners up until the night before Thanksgiving.

“Agents from the criminal liquor enforcement division came in and a gave us an emergency order suspending our liquor license,” he explained.

The reasoning he was given: That he had violated a public health order from the governor. That’s despite the fact he says he’d been told by county officials that he was clear to keep his doors open as long as he did so safely.

“You’re told one thing by one agency and one thing by another, and you’re stuck in the middle,” Bird said.

The state moved Weld County to the red status on its COVID dial last week, along with several other counties. Under the red restrictions, indoor dining is not allowed. When Weld was moved to red, county officials including county commissioners and the county sheriff came out with statements saying they would not be enforcing those rules, instead encouraging personal responsibility from individuals and businesses.

“It feels like mom add dad are fighting. Mom tells you one thing, dad tells you another. What are you supposed to do?” Bird wondered.

Now, signs on the restaurant’s front door explain that they no longer have a liquor license. Bird says he’s pivoted to carryout only, and is hoping that can pay the bills for as long as possible.

“I’m stuck. We’re not a night club, we’re not some crazy bar. We’re a local neighborhood pub and we just want to survive and do what’s right,” he said.

For more information on the state’s restrictions on a county-by-county basis, click here.