'Tri-County can't shut them all down'

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Hours after it received an order from Tri-County Health Department to shut down, C&C Coffee and Kitchen in Castle Rock continued to serve customers for dine-in service May 11. 

The day before, the restaurant received national attention after a video taken by a Colorado Community Media reporter showed the building packed with people sitting at tables, not wearing masks and not observing social distancing guidelines. 

The afternoon of May 11, Douglas County resident Shane Lapp ate with a friend at the restaurant and said he wished he could have supported the business on Mother's Day as well. The way he sees it, the data surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic is not substantial enough to require businesses like C&C to shut down for dine-in service, he said. 

“Car wrecks kill more people and what are we doing about those?” he said. “We're not saying you can't drive.”

Lapp, who said he was diagnosed with COVID-19 but has since recovered, believes every restaurant should open and defy public health orders, he said. 

“Tri-County can't shut them all down,” he said.

As people ate their meals, new customers entered the restaurant cheering, leading the whole restaurant into loud applause and chants of things like “U-S-A” and “freedom.” 

Outside, two men carrying large American flags walked up and down the street in front of the restaurant. Vehicles passing by honked their horns in support.

“We're here just to support them,” said John Hulse, one of the flag carriers. “They've got the gumption to do what they stand for.”

Hulse and Jed Gilman, from Gilpin County, drove more than an hour to carry their flags in front of the business when they learned that it had opened its doors, they said. 

“They're not afraid to embrace their Constitutional rights and to stand up to tyranny,” Gilman said. “If the statistics that provided the hysteria for the COVID were right, we wouldn't be here… They (C&C) are saying `you were wrong.'”

Tyler Magana, who was dressed in a Captain America costume, was one of the restaurant patrons starting cheers of support, even taking a video of the restaurant as he shouted “How does it feel to sit down?” He was met with applause and cheers.

“I saw that this place opened up and saw the backlash and how nasty people were being,” Magana said. “They're doing what they think they have to do to keep their business alive and I totally respect that. I completely support it.”

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