Editor’s note: The following is an open letter to Colorado voters submitted to The Denver Post.
As the owners of a broad coalition of Colorado restaurants, we have joined together to demand accountability from leaders in Washington.
Margins in the restaurant business are always thin, even moreso this year. Every customer matters to us right now more than ever.
Despite the business risks of taking a political stand, however, we are wholeheartedly supporting Joe Biden and Kamala Harris as the only choice for Colorado voters concerned about the future health of our small businesses, families and communities.
Restaurants are community anchors where people come together and share in the dynamic harmony that represents the best of the American ideal. We need to keep them strong and vibrant.
We are convinced that Joe Biden and Kamala Harris genuinely care about small businesses and the workers who drive them.
We have always believed in this country, and we are furious that President Trump still refuses to take responsibility or offer any national plan in response to COVID-19. As small-business owners, we know firsthand how President Trump’s mismanagement of the pandemic has devastated the Colorado restaurant industry.
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Small businesses are the vital driver of Colorado’s economy: Over 630,000 small businesses employ half of the state’s workforce. In Colorado, 62% of restaurants anticipate needing financial assistance in the next six months to avoid permanent closure.
Many of us who have rolled the dice on reopening had to overhaul our format, shifting to outdoor seating to keep our customers and staff safe. The coming Colorado winter will largely take that option off the table.
We fear not only for our businesses, which face unprecedented uncertainty, but also for our employees, especially our employees of color, who have been and will continue to be disproportionately impacted by COVID-19.
President Trump’s targeting of minorities, and refusal to condemn white supremacy, has us extremely concerned for the small-business owners and workers of color who are the backbone of Colorado’s restaurant and hospitality industry. We will not remain silent on these issues any longer.
During this pandemic, there has been a lot of talk about essential workers. The reality is that the farmers, field workers, distributors, dishwashers, line cooks, bussers and wait staff who make up the food and beverage supply chain are some of the most essential workers in this country.
From his cruel immigration policies to disastrous mishandling of COVID-19, our community has constantly been under attack from President Trump. His decision to pull Senate Republicans out of the COVID-19 economic stimulus negotiations further underscores his lack of concern for the American working class.
Meanwhile, it’s hard to ignore that countries around the world that faced similar outbreaks early this year have managed them more effectively. Many are reopening, slowly but steadily. Their businesses and economies took a hit, but they are now on the path of recovery, while we are scraping by with little help, incomplete information from the federal government, and no end in sight.
President Trump and his billionaire donors may be enjoying record profits on Wall Street, but Main Street is in trouble. If we don’t get help fast, our industry will be pummelled during the winter season — historically some of the toughest months for restaurants, even when times are good.
While the White House refuses to acknowledge the severity of our current crisis, back in the real world small businesses like ours are suffering.
For the sake of our community establishments, our staff, and America’s Main Street economies, we must elect Joe Biden and Kamala Harris on Nov. 3.
Jesusio Silva, chef/partner, Broadway Market
Caroline Glover and Nelson Harvey, owners, Annette
Whitney and Dr. Obadiah Ariss, co-owners, The Preservery
Tajahi and Danielle Cooke, chef/owners, Ms. Betty’s Cooking
Sean Kenyon, bartender/proprietor, Williams & Graham, Occidental, American Bonded
Michael Diaz de Leon, chef/owner, Pinchi Umami
Joshua and Kara Pollack, owners, Bridge and Tunnel Restaurant Group
Josh Pindell-Ridgeway, chef/owner, Smoke & Roll BBQ
Christine Ruch, chef/owner, Fresh Thymes Eatery
Kelly Whitaker, chef/owner, The Wolf’s Tailor and IE Hospitality Group
Hosea Rosenberg, chef/owner, Blackbelly, Santo
Edwin Zoe, founder of Zoe Ma Ma, chef/owner of Chimera Ramen
Leonardo De Aguiar, founder and CEO of Intueat Ltd.
Chad Michael George, executive board member, EatDenver and Colorado Bartenders Guild
Amy Cohen and Hayden Barnie, owners, Stowaway Kitchen
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