LETTERS: Roll back the regulations; show us the science | Opinion

Roll back the regulations

Thank you to the community leaders for all you have done over the past months to thread a difficult needle of maintaining public health as well as seeking to maintain the momentum of our local economy. Shawn and I are truly grateful for the countless hours of hard work.

As restaurateurs, we do ask, however, for a reexamination of the extensive regulations placed on restaurants in this time of rising COVID cases. There is little evidence that restaurants — operating as they were with limited capacity for the past several months — contributed to the rise in cases. In all likelihood, not allowing people — patrons and restaurateurs alike — to exercise their right to assume their own level of risk results in more individuals gathering in smaller settings like homes with little-to-no COVID protections or protocols. The unintended consequence of your highly restrictive restaurant policies is a higher rate of infection.

During this ordeal, officials have pleaded with the public, including restaurateurs, to trust the science and the data. Turning the question around is fair — what data and science exists to say that restaurants have been the driving force of the spread of the virus? Recent state health data suggests that restaurants are responsible for less than 3% of cases, whereas retail establishments could be traced to being responsible for as much as 5%.

Public health officials have noted that perhaps the lower rate is due to a lack of restaurants being reported as the source of COVID infection.

But as a banker with many clients in the restaurant industry, I (Shawn) can attest to the extraordinary measures many of our restaurants have taken to meet and exceed the constantly changing regulations. In light of those efforts, I further challenge the application of extensive regulations on our small businesses, while larger box stores face almost none.

Additionally, requiring restaurants to rebuild our business outside our existing premises to operate only further increases the cost burden to attempt to operate. Such a regulation only begs the question of why other commercial businesses are not required to begin selling their goods outside.

Please remember that behind every shuttered or failing restaurant is a family with a dream and a livelihood, and the livelihoods of those employed by them.

We respectfully ask why these lives seem to matter less as a policy priority than the lives behind other businesses. We respectfully ask our representatives to request the same standard of data and science rigor from our regulators as we, as citizens, have been asked to give.

Roll back the regulations on restaurants to pre-Thanksgiving levels, or please prove why we need to be shut down!

Shawn & Mattie Gullixson

Colorado Springs

Show us the science

So dining inside is safe as long as it’s outside? Show me the science that dining inside a tent that is outside is safer than dining inside a restaurant? While we’re at it, how is it less safe in a restaurant while still distancing than it is at the grocery store or Walmart or Home Depot? I don’t see any difference. I don’t think anybody does. As a restaurant owner here in town, I would sure like to know. I’m supposed to set up a tent in my parking lot at great cost? Heat it, move everything for seating and serving out every morning and back in every night while hoping nothing goes wrong? Hoping nothing gets stolen? Hoping anybody really wants to sit outside in a tent when it’s cold, loud and drab?

Oh, and we are a sports bar with 54 TVs that our guests want to watch. How’s that going to work? We’re also supposed to survive on takeout? Really. I’d like answers so I can tell my wonderful staff who work so hard to provided our services why they are now unemployed? What I’d really like an answer to is what happened to “Government of the People, by the People and for the People.” A government like that should be able to show me the science to explain why they are ruining our businesses don’t you think?

This time it’s restaurant’s! Whose businesses are next? I’ll be listening!!

Mike Garrison

Colorado Springs

A longer trail of misery

Reading the daily torrent of coronavirus news along with the graphs showing its effects, it occurs to me that we are only looking at half the data we need regarding this pandemic. The other half of the data is the economic and social impact.

Along with the graphs for “7- day Cumulative Deaths”, “Hospitalizations” and “7-day average of new daily cases”, we also need to see “7-day average of cumulative business closures”, “Layoffs” and “7-day average of new unemployment claims.” You might think this is dismissive of the severity of the virus: It is not. Rather, it is an acknowledgement of the effects of the restrictions used to respond to the virus.

The virus infects, sickens and kills a certain percentage of the population and so does the government response.

The health professionals like Dr. Anthony Fauci can be seen and heard daily. Where is the spokesperson for the small businesses to report the actions that are killing the American dreams and creating a far longer trail of misery and perhaps even death from the closures of these businesses?

Our citizenry is pretty clever and resilient when we have the accurate information we need to assess whether our leaders are taking the right actions, and what level of risk we wish to assume. All we need is the accurate information.

Ross Robbins

Colorado Springs

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