Weld County businesses navigate COVID-19 restrictions while Longmont puts on pressure to comply

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WELD COUNTY, Colo. — The owners of Collision Brewing Company are committed to following state guidelines so when Weld County moved to “Level Red” they suspended indoor dining even though the move will ultimately hurt business.

“For the second time this year I’ve had to lay off the majority of my staff,” said Eric Blythe, who owns the business with his family.

Blythe would love nothing more than to share his brewpub space with customers but for now he is only offering takeout and curbside service.

Even new health orders were handed down to Weld County, the county board of commissioners said they would not enforce a rule demanding restaurants close indoor dining areas. That decision has led to confusion for business owners and customers alike, some people are still walking into Collision Brewing Company and wondering why the dining room is closed.

“We’re stuck right in the middle, we really are, again, it’s very frustrating because we have two different bodies going against each other and trying to make everything work as we’ve been following every single guideline, we’re being punished for following everything from day one. It seems very unfair,” Blythe said.

On Tuesday night, the Longmont City Council voted to prepare a resolution aimed at putting pressure on Weld County to follow the state’s COVID-19 guidelines.

“Even though we believe the right decision is to close we have to evaluate the survival of not only our restaurant but the ability to pay our employees,” said Chase Bonner, owner of Parrot’s Sports Grill.

Bonner felt like the county had his back so he decided to remain open but then the Colorado Liquor Enforcement Division showed up at his restaurant. His liquor license was threatened and he closed for a few days before reopening again on Sunday.

“I found many restaurant owners were not aware that the county would not be able to step and help them should the state show up,” Bonner said.