Business/Economy, Columnists, Coronavirus, Jon Caldara, Uncategorized

Caldara: Restaurants rebelling to survive

Denver has homeless encampments and rioters who topple and destroy statues.

By contrast the city of Loveland has no homeless living on the streets, they don’t allow it. And with famous sculptors like the Lundeen family and one of the finest foundries in the world, Loveland creates statues.

So which city is the most lawless? Well, Loveland of course.

The protesters in Denver want political change and they are willing to litter, burn, vandalize and loot to move the needle to the left, towards a more socialist world where other people are forced to give them things.

The Loveland Lawless are a little different. Instead of tearing down, their rebellion is to build up. Instead of demanding money from others, their revolt is to risk their life savings, compete to earn money and employ people in their community. That earned money is then taxed (and then redistributed).

Their act of defiance is to work.

These criminals are heroes. Theirs is a different type of civil disobedience.

To be precise, some 78, and I expect that number to grow, bars, restaurants and other small businesses in Loveland have announced they, together, will break the law and stay open even though the county government ordered them shut.

The board of the Larimer County Department of Public Health and Environment (LCDPHE) is appointed, not elected. They can’t be voted out of office or recalled, so they have no direct accountability to the citizens whose lives they are obliterating. But they do have the legal authority to close down businesses under the scare of COVID.

Businesses had already been struggling to survive after LCDPHE voted in their “Level 2” (yellow), “Safer at Home” restrictions. That cut restaurant capacity to 50% making it nearly impossible for these businesses to survive.

Restaurants make or break their profitability on packed Friday and Saturday nights. Fortunately, SOME of them were able to create some outdoor seating in the warm summer days. Winter’s here. None of them can do that now.

Last week the unelected LCDPHE board voted to escalate their business-crushing authoritarianism from “Level 2” (yellow) to “Level 4” (red). This closes all bars, closes all indoor service at restaurants, stops all indoor events among other restrictions. They put no end date on their tyrannical order.

Businesses that were barely hanging on will go out of business. The Christmas bonus for those families depending on paychecks from them will be a pink slip and unemployment. At least Scrooge only ruined the Cratchit family’s Christmas.

I have spoken to several of these restaurant owners and each one told me the unsolicited story of employees breaking down into tears in front of them. They can’t lose their jobs and still make ends meet. Many have worked at that place for years; they’re family. If the owners didn’t defy the law, there’d be no presents under the tree for their children.

If they followed the law many would go out of business anyway. A Hobson’s choice.

But “follow the science” say the little tyrants to justify everything they do.

And sure enough, COVID cases are up in Larimer County, but the hot zone is Colorado State University. Good for those kids. They have near-zero chance of being hospitalized and even less chance of dying. Let them power this through to immunity and keep them away from the vulnerable in the meantime.

But cases of COVID in the city of Loveland (which has the poor fortune of being located in Larimer County not liberty-respecting Weld) are few and far between.

I wrote this column just before Thanksgiving Day. By the time you read this those Loveland Lawless could have been beaten into submission. Or they could still be trying to hold on, hopefully inspiring other business owners around the state to do the same.

I hope you’ll support them. It’s worth the drive north to dine at the Loveland Chophouse, McGraff’s, Senior Raphel, Wicked Tequila Room, Grimm Brothers Brewhouse, CJ’s Patio Grill, AKA Kitchen, Cactus Grill and lots of other bars, brewhouses and restaurants.

If they are forced to close, I hope these Loveland Lawless will do what city governments do actually support — peaceful protests that tear down statues, vandalize, firebomb police cars and smash the windows of their own, former businesses.

Jon Caldara is president of the Independence Institute, a free market think tank in Denver.

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