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First pandemic, now protesters affect downtown businesses in Colorado Springs

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.

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Scott Harrison

Scott is a reporter for KRDO. Learn more about Scott here.



  1. Chant: Stand up and go to work. Stand up and go to work. Stand up and go to work.

    1. Welfare pays to good and that’s the problem. Societies leeches laying in the road complaining about how the police are mean and not letting them commit crime.

  2. The pandemic is a longtime lack of police conduct reform.
    Protect and Serve ha been drowned out by the sights and sounds of legalized murder and assault and battery by today’s police force. They have been militarized and given a free pass.

    1. Criminals committing crime doesn’t have anything to do with it?
      Look up Floyd’s police record. You want to make him a martyr?

    2. Really? Have you looked at the numbers? Or just regurgitating what you’ve been told? Police shootings have gone down, police shoot more whites than blacks. If you dont want cops in your neighborhood, dont give them a reason to be there! Dont rob or beat your neighbors, dont deal drugs in front of your house, etc.
      On another note, please educate me: what has BLM really done? Afterschool or church programs? Sports gatherings? Programs where youths can reach out to police before they get on the bad side of the law? No?
      What I’ve seen is they get their followers to incite violence on society and law enforcement, calling everyone racist, destroying public property all while the leaders on BLM are raking in millions of dollars. It seems these people make money on all the hate they can muster. It’s almost modern day slavery, they have their slaves and they make the money….

  3. If I ever get coronavirus you can rest assured that I’ll be out there spreading it to the misguided protesters.

    1. Been that way for a long time. Business is good from protestors since they’re the same people who frequent downtown all the time and have chased away family business. Ignorance is a liberal disease.

  4. RealityCheck would have called you an idiot if you went and protested to open businesses, and now he calls these protestors bright and insightful! Nothing has changed with the virus in a month. We have no cures or vaccines for it, even the media seems to love these protestors! So you want to open your business you’re a terrorist but if you want to burn down a business you’re a hero and your voice needs to be heard. That is the MSM for ya too.

    1. Get out of my head KollegeEducatedLib! If you want to rebuild your city, make a living, support your family, yup, you’re vilified. If you want to tear things down, destroy or hinder society, you’re a hero. How did we get to this? Now democrat cities want to abolish the police?
      It’s not really a conspiracy anymore. #1 destroy the economy and become dependent on the government for income, step 2, incite a race war and turn citizens against one another further destroying small businesses, step 3, remove law enforcement and let crime go rampant, what is step 4? It seems someone is working really hard to destroy our way of life and institute a government power without checks and balances.

  5. I hear a lot of racism, privilege, and even some stupidity in these comments. You all can decide which one you are.

    Most of you are looking at this from a sheltered, one sided point of view. I am not here to tell you what to think but just asking you to think a little harder.

    Go talk to a protester and see who they are and why they are there. Feel their fear, outrage and passion. If you are uncomfortable with Black people, talk to a White protester.

    There are quite a few local college students there everyday who want to see change for the better. Try to understand before you condemn. Most of them just want to be heard and seen as people, not criminals and welfare recipients as above comments have described them.

    They are marching because of people like you who do not care if they live or die and just don’t care about much until it interferes with your privilege.

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