COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KRDO) -- The owners of C & C Coffee and Kitchen restaurants have filed a lawsuit against Governor Jared Polis, the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, and Tri-County Health Department after officials suspended their tax license a few weeks ago.
The owners allege that the governor and health officials stripped them of their livelihood and right to operate a business. The suspension came after C & C Coffee and Kitchen's Castle Rock location violated the state public health order by opening its dining room on Mother's Day, allowing dozens of unmasked customers to eat inside.
The Castle Rock location remains closed. However, the Colorado Springs location remains open and owners say they are abiding by the recent restaurant variance approved in El Paso County.
"We feel that our Constitutional rights were being violated. And then also we had no warning, nothing," owner Jesse Arellano said.
Gov. Polis said the owners created an immediate health hazard by opening their dining room on Mother's Day.
"Well, for C&C what stands out is the targeting by the governor," attorney Randy Corporon said. "The governor actually held a press conference and was very critical of this couple, this family that is trying to run their business."
Corporon is representing the owners in their legal battle against the government. He argues the governor received vast emergency powers for a limited scope and time and claims Polis has exceeded the limits.
"The declaratory relief that we are seeking would be something that would impact all of these small businesses, all of these small restaurants and bars," Corporon explained.
During its dining room closure, C & C estimates it lost 80% of normal sales. The husband and wife owners tell KRDO while they are abiding by the current health orders in Colorado Springs, they believe the 50% capacity rule will force more restaurants into bankruptcy.
The owners confirm to KRDO they did receive federal forgivable loans from the government amid the pandemic. They claim they haven't used the funds yet and are seeking clearer guidance to ensure they can afford to keep the money.
C & C Coffee and Kitchen is currently working with their attorney to get their Castle Rock license back. They remain hopeful they won't have to close down permanently.
"We run this business in the glory of God," Arellano said. "I think that's what our calling is ... to serve people."
Gov. Jared Polis' office declined to comment on the pending litigation.