COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KRDO) -- Many downtown restaurants are still reeling from the economic impact of two months of being shut down or having restricted operations because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Now, they're dealing with another situation -- hundreds of protesters belonging to the Black Lives Matter movement who have been marching and rallying through the area for a week.
Business owners say they've seen mixed results.
"I feel like some customers are a little hesitant to come downtown," said Bryan Cortez, general manager of Gasoline Alley, which just opened last week and avoided most of the pandemic impacts.
"During the week, we have a little trouble filling up. But it's been good overall."
Martin Troy, general manager of Jack Quinn's, said most of the downtown restaurants are not on the route taken by demonstrators between City Hall and the Police Operations Center.
"It's hard to say if (restaurants) have a double whammy because of COVID," he said. "I think it's too soon to say whether we'll be affected on an ongoing basis or not. I'm focusing on my business and my customers."
The bigger issue for downtown restaurants may be the social distancing requirements which limit how close customers can sit to each other, and how many customers can be inside at once.
On Friday evening at Jack Quinn's, Gasoline Alley and Phantom Canyon Brewery, they were busy -- with customers at the maximum capacity of 50%, outdoor patios full and people standing in line to wait for seats to become available.
Some restaurant owners, however, are uneasy about the coming weekend and talk of Denver-area protesters joining the Colorado Springs movement. Last weekend, rioting during the Denver protests led to vandalism and property damage at several businesses.
"We have extra security coming on," Cortez said. "We all want to stay safe and keep things safe."
Restaurants also are adjusting to the city-wide 10 p.m. curfew that started Wednesday and continues through the weekend. Several business owners said it forces them to close at 9 p.m. or earlier, so that employees won't have to go home during the curfew.
Restaurant owners also realize that an increase in the number of protesters could bring them more customers in the short term.