CALHAN, Colo. (CBS4) – A restaurant in the small town of Calhan on Colorado’s Eastern Plains has opened to dine-in patrons in defiance of the current health orders due to the coronavirus outbreak. Karen’s Kafe and Stephanie’s Bar and Grill is located in Calhan. The restaurant is serving food on paper plates, refills are given in paper cups and tables are 6 feet apart.

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Karen Starr, the owner, says the decision was made to reopen not because of money but because her customers are like family, and she says they have the right to assemble.

“It’s not that we’re going against the governor. We’re going against our constitutional right to assemble,” Starr said.

Karen told CBS4 that their phone has been ringing off the hook all day. Some people upset that they’re still seating patrons, but mostly words of support. For community members, the restaurant is a meeting place.

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“You don’t know how many people are out here that live alone or it’s just a couple. They want to visit, they want to know how they’re doing. How we’re doing. How the grandkids and kids are doing,” she told CBS4.

Starr says she’s willing to accept any fines or even jail time that might result from her action.

El Paso County health officials have instructed Starr to keep their business limited to takeout and delivery orders only.

(credit: CBS)

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Dominic Garcia