CANON CITY, Colo. (KRDO) -- Businesses are allowed to reopen with restrictions, but a local celebration in Cañon City is being put on hold because of concerns that too many people are gathering and ignoring social distancing.
That's why Cañon City Mayor Ashley Smith has requested a stop to the town's Friday Night Cruises.
"I fully realize how many people enjoyed the opportunity to get out of their homes and show solidarity as a community the last two Friday evenings. For many it was an exciting and even emotional experience," said Smith.
"Unfortunately, the number of people who chose to get out of their cars and congregate got out of hand. Many were belligerent when asked not to do so. Our community is put at risk of grave consequences that do not come from the City of Cañon City but from the state of Colorado."
Others, specifically those with the Downtown Business Association (DBA) of Cañon City, say the social distancing violations are being blown out of proportion.
“I saw a few groups of people standing together, and I saw a lot of groups standing six feet apart so there was not that much social gathering that I saw,” said Debbie Lake, owner of Classic Furniture on Main Street and one of the event's organizers.
For Lake, a member of the DBA, the event was only meant to show support for downtown business in Cañon City during the COVID-19 pandemic. She says the event was never meant for people to disobey social distancing guidelines. However, she feels it is not her place to tell people to disperse.
Smith says there are real severe consequences if Cañon City doesn't bring the event to a close.
State funding could be taken away or even Cañon City's ability to govern themselves locally if they don’t comply.
“Also we were told [by state health officials] we could be put back into the stay at home orders to prevent a potential breakout of our citizens if we couldn’t behave properly," said Smith. "And our citizens can behave properly. For the most part we are doing amazing."