Colorado Springs bars and restaurants ramped up for Cinco de May celebrations Wednesday in anticipation of a boom in customers for the Mexican holiday.
The holiday, translated as the Fifth of May, marks the victory of Mexico in the 1862 Battle of Puebla against the French.
Those celebrating across town can expect drinks, food and music with friends, at several local eateries, including T-Byrds Tacos & Tequila and La Casa Fiesta.
"It's our biggest party of the year," said Jules Viet, the general manger for T-Byrds Tacos & Tequila said. "Pretty much just free shots flowing around and good vibes and good music."
Between 2 and 8 p.m. customers who stop by T-Byrds can get free shots, free gift raffles and happy hour specials.
"It's kind of an appreciation party too," Viet said. "Our customers made it happen so we like to throw a party."
For Mary Morris, the owner of La Casa Fiesta, a staple eatery in Monument, the holiday is always a day sure to bring out a surge of customers.
"People just want to be together and want to come out have Mexican food, have a margarita and spend time with friends," Morris said.
However, local health officials worried that crowded holiday get-togethers could exacerbate growing coronavirus numbers.
"Whenever we have had more social interaction, we have seen increases in cases," said Robin Johnson, El Paso County's medical director.
El Paso County saw an uptick in cases throughout April with hospitalizations following similar trends but at lagging pace. Deaths, however, did not see a surge, Johnson said.
"Our community has a way to go before herd immunity and when we're interacting in public we still need to use caution," Johnson said.
Around 182,138 people across the county have been full vaccinated as of Sunday, county data showed.
"Wear masks, stay in small groups, be conscientious about that throughout the day to continue our momentum to having the pandemic behinds us," Johnson said.
For Joe Aldaz, president and CEO of the Colorado Springs Hispanic Chamber, supporting local business is imperative and Cinco de Mayo is an opportunity to get out and help local businesses.
"I think it’s a day of celebration especially in that Latino culture because our culture is very social and we like to get together and anything of significance, like this, is a good reason to do that," he said. "At this point in time we have to understand how to mitigate the risks and operate safely and that’s what we want to promote."