With Colorado continuing to knock down COVID numbers and an increase in vaccines, more restaurants are reopening around Longmont. This includes popular Main Street spots such as The Roost and Longs Peak Pub and Taphouse.
This comes after the November surge again closed businesses across the state. Some returned to to-go service while others boarded up for the winter.
The Roost reopened Monday, but owner Sean Gafner said the plan to reopen wasn’t a decision made lightly.
“When they said we could reopen, things had only turned a corner for a few weeks,” Gafner said. “We’ve been surveying staff and two months ago we didn’t have a critical mass of our staff that was wanting to come back because they were hesitant of the safety and to make enough money without as many customers.”
Another major factor of reopening is costs, Gaffner said. To rehire and train staff and add inventory he said he had to spend tens of thousands of dollars, which adds a major financial risk to bringing back the business.
“We’re trying really hard to create stability for our staff, and for our business and customers through what’s been such an unstable time,” Gafner said. “We just cannot get our staff off of unemployment and bring them on again and then have to downsize or close for a third time.”
Gafner also owns Jefes Tacos and Tequila, which reopened earlier this year and has continued to offer to-go service and deliveries, and like many other restaurants, operates at 50% capacity.While trends are heading in the right direction, Gafner like many other business owners knows The Roost needs to return to normal in order for the business to survive. With additional services such as takeout, he has to pay just as many staff members, if not more, even though the building can only be half full of customers, he said.
“Our bartenders love tending bar, our servers love serving tables and our cooks love cooking. It’s our livelihood. But at 50% we’re not making a penny of profit,” Gafner said. “It’s great to be in there doing what we love but it’s not like we’re making money.”
Down the road from The Roost, Longs Peak Pub and Taphouse also is getting back to work. It reopened Friday.
“The vaccines are coming, we received government assistance to get reopening and our staff wants to get back to work,” owner Kevin Daly said. “We have extended patios outside Longs Peak so we think it’s going to be a really great experience.”
Daly said the pub is reopening slowly with limited hours and a limited menu but plans to expand in the coming weeks to bring back popular food items and expanded hours. Like many other businesses, it will follow the 50% capacity restriction and require masks and temperature checks for staff and customers will be in place.
Daly also owns four other similar businesses in the Boulder County area, including Mountain Sun Pub and Brewery in Boulder. He plans to continue reopening his restaurants as they get staff trained.
“We feel like it’s a much safer environment now that the infection rate has gone down,” Daly said. “We’ll be adding back all of our hits on the menu and we’re really looking forward to the summer.”