‘More worried this time’: Moffat County businesses face further restrictions, staffing shortages as cases spike
Many businesses around the Moffat County area are dealing with staff shortages and/or reduced hours due to COVID cases spiking. Some of those include the Village Inn, Cool Water Grille, the Craig Hotel, Carelli’s Pizzeria and Downtown Books and Coffee.
The Village Inn has condensed their hours to just breakfast service, reportedly due to a staffing issue, while Cool Water Grille’s owner Erin Durham said that they will be going to take out and delivery only. Durham also said that they will be offering curbside pick up and free delivery “through the crisis.” According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, Colorado unemployment is at its highest since June with 3,138.7 people unemployed. Specifically in the leisure and hospitality industry, the number is down -14.3%, it’s lowest level during the COVD-19 crisis.
The Craig Hotel also made the difficult decision to close temporarily in order to give their employees a break after hunting season and disinfect the hotel.
Shannon Moore, assistant general manager of the hotel, said they will be cleaning and disinfecting every room from the fourth floor down to the first floor during the closure.
“We’re gonna go in and clean all the rooms just before we reopen, clean everything before we leave on Sunday and then a couple of days before the property reopens, we are going to clean everything from top to bottom,” she said.
Worried about possibly shutting down as cases rise, Brett Etzler, the owner of Carelli’s Pizzeria, has been producing take home kits for those that want to spend time making pizza with their families, much like they did back in April and May. Etzler says that it takes around 15 minutes from start to finish.
According to Etzler, the make-it-yourself kits, of which include a lasagna kit, accounted for 80% of his business during the first shutdown. The idea for the make it yourself pizza kits came from when Etzler was a child.
“Back in Indiana, when I was growing up there was a place that did that, Noble Romans it was called, little pizza place,” Etzler said. “Mom used to swing by there and grab them every now and then.”
Currently, Carelli’s is at 25% capacity, something that worries Etzler given the lack of Congressional action on further economic relief. The limited capacity has forced Etzler to remove some tables and chairs from his restaurant for proper social distancing.
“The first time we got that Payroll Protection Plan, if we wouldn’t have gotten that, I don’t think we would’ve made it,” Etzler said. “I’m not sure what the government is going to do. Hopefully they will help us out again. I’m a little bit more worried this time, the cases are a lot higher now too.”
Etzler has also said that the restaurant is keeping servers employed by transitioning them into delivery drivers, which is something that he did when cases previously spiked back in the spring.
The owner of Downtown Books and Coffee, Liane Davis-Kling, said that her book sales have not dipped as the cases have risen, but said that some of her regular customers who come in to drink coffee are visiting less often. Davis-Kling said the bookstore remains open during regular business hours and that people just have to call them if they want curbside pickup on drinks.
As they only serve coffee and other types of drinks, Downtown Books is on the lower end of the restaurant spectrum when it comes to capacity rules. Davis-Kling added that instead of having three tables open for customers to sit at and drink coffee, the bookstore has reduced that to two with proper social distancing.
The store has a mask policy, and masks by the front door for customers to put on when they enter the store and leave in a basket when they are leaving the store.The masks have the Downtown Books logo on them.
“We have a little container that we will wash those masks every day,” Davis-Kling said.
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