MONUMENT, Colo. (CBS4) – At Rosie’s Diner owner A.B. Tellez sat and thought.
“These are people’s livelihoods. This is everything they own, everything they have,” he said about small businesses in the town in northern El Paso County. He employs 28. COVID has made the last year very hard, especially when he had to be closed.
“I did hear about Texas today, what’s taken place,” he said. “I don’t support it from a health standpoint.”
But business is different.
“For God’s sake I hope we don’t go backwards … We need to look at the whole big picture with all businesses.”
With vaccines now coming in more rapidly in the weeks ahead in Colorado and over 70% of the population over 70 vaccinated, thoughts of full reopening are on many minds. Already about 30 people a week come into the restaurant, unwilling to comply with COVID regulations.
“There’s a lot of people that don’t want to wear masks and are pretty much fed up with it.” Many are seniors. “A lot of them have been vaccinated now. We do need to move forward. We can’t stay at a standstill like this. We can’t live in fear. That’s the one thing I’ll never accept.”
Monument has been a town resistant to state mandates. Mayor Don Wilson said he doesn’t have much communication with the state. In January, the town’s Board of Trustees talked about becoming a sanctuary city, but instead voted for a resolution that called the constitutionality of COVID mandates into question and called for all businesses to be deemed essential.READ MORE: COVID In Colorado: Gov. Jared Polis Envisions A ‘Very Close To Normal’ Summer
“Looking into that we thought it was inappropriate to do any kind of sanctuary town and it would be ineffective. So we ended up in January just making a resolution supporting the constitutional right to gather and in support of our businesses,” said Wilson.
Gov. Jared Polis later replied that the constitutionality of COVID mandates have been supported by the courts. At Rosie’s Diner, they still tell people without masks they need to wear them.
“We let them know that we’re following our mandate. Our orders from the governor and our state,” said Tellez.
But the sentiment toward greater reopening is an undercurrent in the community. After the move by Texas Gov. Greg Abbott to move toward a full reopening, it’s bound to come up.
“I hope we can follow Texas and get open. And I’m not saying by tomorrow,” said Tellez. “I’m saying we can do it with a plan of actions. But let’s quit moving the goalposts.”
The mayor said he hoped to stay with the State of Colorado’s plans as it moves into fewer restrictions. But he knows he’ll hear from people on it.
“I think we will get feedback from our community out of frustration if it doesn’t happen in a timely fashion. … I think when we start seeing the frustration that we saw here recently back in December and January then the board will have to make some decisions.”
But he didn’t elaborate on what they might be.