Shooter’s Grill in Rifle, Colorado, is a Second Amendment safe haven; a restaurant where the staff open carry and owner Lauren Boebert serves up tasty food with a heaping helping of support for the right to keep and bear arms. Unfortunately for Boebert and her staff, the restaurant (and all other restaurants across the state) were ordered closed by Gov. Jared Polis in his stay-at-home order issued in late March, which has crippled Boebert’s ability to make a living and provide employees with a paycheck.
Boebert says that’s why she decided to defy Polis’s order and reopen her restaurant several days ago with social distancing measures in place.
The fact that the restaurant is now serving customers indoors — contrary to what’s allowed under the orders of Gov. Jared Polis — only accentuates the restaurant’s Wild-West feel. It also reflects the defiant nature of its owner, also a Republican candidate for Congress, when it comes to what she sees as challenges to her constitutional rights and her ability to run a business without coming under the heavy thumb of government.
Lauren Boebert, a challenger for the 3rd Congressional District seat of incumbent and fellow Republican Rep. Scott Tipton, opened her doors to indoor dining Saturday, limiting customer numbers to 30% of capacity.
“I want Garfield County to be 100% open,” she told Garfield County commissioners this week.
She said she supported the first call by Polis to shut things down, but objected when he then kept extending restrictions even though she doesn’t believe the latest data on the threat posed by COVID-19 warrants that. She called the current infringements on business “absolutely unconstitutional.”
Boebert’s defiance earned her a cease-and-desist letter delivered on Tuesday afternoon by the Garfield County Sheriff, and in a Facebook post early Thursday, the restaurant owner alleged that one county commissioner berated her for reopening.
Our county commissioners led us to believe a variance to re-open sooner than the governor’s order was submitted weeks ago. I waited. It was not submitted until this week. By then I had faced a decision to make to ensure my employees were able to receive a pay check.
One commissioner came to my restaurant, not to offer support, but rather berate me. He says if Garfield does not open its my fault. That our county government would be neutralized and the state would take over. Not far from what we are currently experiencing, from my viewpoint.
I was informed that seven other restaurants were telling him they were opening and he blamed my model they were looking to. I wish he had a model for them to look to as I know they are facing the most desperate of times.
He said to me, “I wish you would have come up with something creative to keep your staff employed and your customers served.” Funny, I was thinking the same thing. I had hoped our commissioners would come up with something creative to keep our community employed.
If the commissioner was hoping that Boebert would get creative, they definitely got their wish. Shooter’s Grill was open for business again on Thursday, with patrons dining al fresco on the street outside.
I could go for a Swiss & Wesson burger (hold the onions) right now, and I wouldn’t mind sitting outside to eat it. In fact, given my overabundance of caution because of my wife’s compromised immune system, I’d be happier sitting outside Shooter’s Grill in the sunshine than scarfing down my food inside at the moment.
It’s going to be a beautiful weekend in Rifle, with highs in the upper 70s and mostly sunny skies tomorrow and Saturday. Something tells me that there’ll be plenty of customers hoping to grab a cafe-style table outside of Shooter’s Grill, as long as Boebert and her staff are still willing to defy county officials.
Boebert’s supposed to have a hearing next Monday morning on the cease-and-desist letter. Gov. Polis, meanwhile, says he’ll make a decision by May 25 about allowing restaurants to begin reopening dining rooms on May 27, albeit in a limited capacity. Between now and then, however, it sounds like Boebert plans to keep serving up burgers and burritos with a side of civil disobedience.