Shooters Grill injunction hearing continued to allow owner to retain legal counsel
A court hearing to determine the fate of Shooters Grill in Rifle was continued Monday so owner Lauren Boebert can have time to find a lawyer.
“I had less than 24 business hours to prepare for this,” Boebert said via video conference before District Judge Anne Norrdin on Monday morning, explaining she needs time to find legal counsel and to line up witnesses on her behalf.
Attorney Heather Beattie, representing the Garfield County Department of Public Health for the County Attorney’s Office, agreed to the continuance. The county’s case against Boebert and Shooters is scheduled for 1:30 p.m. May 26, again via Webex.
A temporary restraining order and a separate 30-day suspension of Shooters’ food service license ordered by the county on Friday remain in effect. That means Shooters is unable to operate in any capacity until the court lifts the restraining order and the restaurant license is reinstated by the county.
The court continuance came as about 20 supporters of Boebert and Shooters protested in front of the county health department in Rifle.
Boebert, in her own protest, began serving customers inside her restaurant the weekend of May 9, in open violation of state and county public health orders that prevent restaurants from serving customers on-site in response to the COVID-19 outbreak in Colorado.
Boebert has said she has been following CDC guidelines, including social distancing between customer tables, requiring wait staff to wear face coverings, and limiting her dining-in capacity to 30%. The county is now seeking a variance from the state to allow restaurants to open at 50% capacity, but a decision is not expected until later this week.
Boebert was issued a cease and desist order on May 12, followed by the court’s temporary restraining order on May 13 after Boebert continued to operate, and later moving her table service to the adjacent sidewalk and parking area.
Beattie advised Judge Norrdin at the Monday court hearing that, if Boebert reopens Shooters against the restraining order, she may file a motion for contempt of court for deliberately disobeying the court order.
Contempt is a criminal offense involving a citation into court for the offending party to answer to the charge, which could lead to fines or possible arrest.
Editor’s note: This story has been revised from an earlier version to explain contempt of court and the possible penalties.
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Garfield County counted five new deaths attributed to COVID-19 over the past six weeks, even as the county’s vaccination rate continues to go up.