ALAMOSA – A misinterpretation of current state orders concerning COVID-19 led to a few verbal warnings for the Campus Café here Thursday. Terry and Fidela Gibbs said they and their staff thought they had permission to open with social distancing requirements and did so at 6 a.m. By 11 a.m. calls from the regional environmental health program manager (food inspector) and Alamosa Police Chief Kenny Anderson led the Gibbs to return to take-out orders only.
“I guess maybe I read the paper wrong,” said Fidela Gibbs noting that they were only using three tables to maintain distancing. She said someone called the restaurant and asked if they were open and said they were going to report them. The next call came from food inspector Lynnea Rappold. “She said if we don’t close, she’d have to revoke our license,” Gibbs said, “but she said she didn’t want to. She has always been good to us.”
The long-time owner of the Campus said they’ve always had a great relationship with Rappold, a feeling also shared by Rappold’s boss, Della Cox Vieira, director of Alamosa Public Health. Vieira said after two phone calls, the Gibbs agreed to go back to carryout only but were allowed to let the customers seated at the time to finish their meals.
“Lynnea has created an atmosphere of learning and support for improvements with her clients in the five counties she serves,” Vieira said. “She works hard to develop mutual respect and works hard at being a supportive resource rather than be punitive.”
Gibbs said Chief Anderson was supportive as well, but cautioned the couple that if they didn’t follow state orders they could be summoned and fined up to $1,000 per day. A restaurant in Castle Rock reopened on Mother’s Day and eventually was shut down, fined and had their state license removed for a period of time.
Gibbs said people were happy to see them open and the couple was happy to see them as well. “It’s just not fair,” Fidela said. “It’s very unconstitutional. Polis (Governor Jared) won’t let us do anything.” She went on to stay that the Campus is there to provide a service.
“We don’t want people getting sick,” she said. “If you’re sick, stay home.” Gibbs said she and her husband will go along with the orders and hopefully be able to open again soon, noting that other restaurants are impatiently waiting to reopen, too.