Some Aspen businesses not open to closing down |

Some Aspen businesses not open to closing down

While an ominous feel hung over downtown Saturday morning, plenty of restaurants and businesses were keeping their doors open despite Aspen’s status as a “hot spot” for coronavirus infection.

Businesses put on their best faces knowing unprecedented challenges didn’t await them; they were here.

“It’s a little odd, a little precarious for a business to be open right now,” said Andrea Klaphake, market manager of Meat & Cheese. “We can try to speculate about what’s going to happen, but I don’t know.”

For the time being — at around 10:45 a.m. Saturday — the Hopkins Avenue eatery and shop, which is part of downtown’s Restaurant Row, had no plans to close because of the coronavirus.

“We have employees that have to pay rent,” Klaphake said.

Dining tables were spaced farther apart than usual, showing the business was being mindful of social distancing, which is being recommended by the health departments in Eagle, Garfield and Pitkin counties to stem the outbreak. Social distancing includes limiting contact of people within 6 feet from each other.

Also not ready to call it a season was Home Team BBQ, a gathering place for apres ski crowds and a locals hangout.

“If you aren’t comfortable going out to a meal, give a shout. … We’ll deliver,” the restaurant, which is located at the base of Buttermilk Ski Area and inside the Inn at Aspen, said on its Facebook page in a Friday post.

On Saturday, co-owner Kutcher Miller said Home Team feels a need to keep grinding and its employees are being “beyond diligent in providing a safe, sanitary dining and gathering environment for our patrons.”

Miller said Home Team will drop food off at the diners’ doorsteps. More details are at

Home Team’s Facebook page promoted businesses by urging people who couldn’t dine at the barbecue restaurant to “visit your other top notch local dining establishments in this time of lesser travel and tourism. We must support each other! … We’re in this together, y’all … we will get by.”

Getting by was how the Grateful Deli’s Glenn Wood was treating Saturday morning, as he dutifully prepared sandwiches for customers who have included Pitkin County’s incident command team on the front lines of what indisputably is a town-wide and international crisis.

The Main Street deli is take-out only. Wood said it will remain open “unless they (the government) tell us otherwise.”

There are still ways to burn off those calories, or at least that’s what Jordan Bullock, owner of the Pure Barre on Hyman Avenue, was hoping Friday. She said she would keep the fitness studio open.

“We kind of want to be a respite in this coronavirus storm,”Bullock said, “A place where people can come and feel safe, and we are cleaning up like storm.”

Social distancing is a must at the studio, she said.

“We feel that our clients that are feeling under the weather will stay home, but we want to give our other clients who are feeling healthy and strong the chance to come in and work out and feel even healthier than they do now,” Bullock said.

Bear Den Aspen had been seeing mainly just local costumers the past few days, said David Small Wood, morning manager of the cafe and bakery that opened four weeks ago on East Hopkins Avenue.

Their plan remained to stay open knowing that those plans could change.

“We are scaling back,” he said Saturday.

A few doors down across the street, Tatanka had a sign saying it was closed, while around the corner on Monarch Street, Of Grape and Grain was closed. The sushi restaurant Matsuhisa also was closing Saturday, while other restaurants such as Mezzaluna were staying open, an employee said.

On Friday, Michael Gross, manager of the RX Root, said they had actually been seeing a rush from customers worried the marijuana dispensary might have to temporarily shut down.

“We’ve told employees that if they have symptoms to stay home,” he said.

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