It’s okay to admit it… takeout is not as good as dine-in. We continue to order takeout knowing we are “doing our part” to help our local restaurants survive. But there has been a major aspect of the dining experience that has been missing: community.

As Rick Egloff of Tuscany Tavern recently told Denver Channel 7, “Restaurant owners try very hard to be the ‘heart and soul’ of their communities and to take care of people socially, financially and in other ways.”

Restaurants are the first to donate when our nonprofits make a plea for help. They are top of mind when you want or need to meet someone for a social or business connection. Many people who live alone are missing the close-knit, family-like atmosphere provided by their favorite bars and restaurants.

And it is not just the patrons that restaurants take care of, but also their employees. Historically, the hospitality industry is the No. 1 provider of jobs to all minorities including but not limited to immigrants, members of the LGBTQ community, people of color and working mothers. In fact, 61 percent of restaurant workers are women and 30 percent of those women are single mothers. Since the beginning of the pandemic, many hospitality workers are making up to 75 percent less than they were pre-COVID.

With the new 5-Star Program, allowing local restaurants to open to indoor dining with limited capacity, it feels like our restaurants are receiving another shot at survival. And our Evergreen restaurants are eager to bring the heart and soul back to our community in any capacity they can.

Carina from Maya’s told us: “I grew up in Evergreen and I have worked at a few of the local eateries. We just want the community to recognize that their neighbors working in this industry need their help now.”

The new guidelines provided by the program ensure dining in at a restaurant is safer than your private home gatherings. According to one study done in New York, restaurants and bars accounted for 1.43 percent of COVID-19 cases recorded between September and November, while a shocking 73.84 percent of cases spread through private gatherings.

With daily screening of workers and patrons when they enter the establishment, constant sanitation of all surfaces, and tables 10-feet apart, it is easy to see how this can be true. When we invite people into our homes for a small gathering or meal (which many of us have felt more comfortable doing in the last few months), we almost never check temperatures or sanitize as much as the hospitality industry does.

In conclusion, my plea is simple. The restaurant industry has been the hardest hit by this pandemic. In this new year, if we can commit to meeting the industry where they are and giving as much to them as we can, then we can be assured they will be there for us in return. We will have our favorite spots to go to when it is time to celebrate after the big game, or meet for a first date, or catch up with a long-lost friend. We cannot lose the restaurants in our community; we must keep them going.

Wednesday, Feb. 3, 8-9 am
Montly Breakfast
Virtual meeting with presentation on Preventing and Managing Burnout.