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Hannah Grimaldi seats guests at The Rabbit Hole in downtown Colorado Springs in this Gazette file photo.

As reported by The Gazette last week, Colorado Restaurant Association officials said they were “shocked” to learn Gov. Jared Polis’ updated COVID-19 vaccine schedule didn’t give the same priority to restaurant workers as it does to grocery workers. The association contends the governor’s office, including the governor himself, previously had given assurances that restaurant workers would be prioritized alongside grocery and other essential workers.

Under the state’s latest vaccine schedule, Coloradans 60 and older, grocery store workers and agricultural workers can begin getting the vaccine on Friday. Restaurant workers won’t get to start for another two-plus weeks after that.

The governor of course has been between a rock and a hard place as his administration has revisited and revised Colorado’s COVID vaccine priority list over the past couple of months. After all, just about every demographic can make a credible case for being bumped ahead in the line for vaccinations. It all makes for an unseemly form of competition.

And yet, the case for restaurant workers seems unusually urgent. Restaurants have been hit especially hard by COVID and its ripple effects because of the up-close-and-personal nature of the business. They have been crippled by pandemic restrictions that first shut them down and then only allowed reopening to very limited numbers — hardly enough to sustain their businesses. They were closed again to all but takeout and outdoor dining when COVID numbers briefly surged. Countless restaurants have closed for good or are on the verge of doing so. And their idled wait and kitchen staff are legion among Colorado’s unemployed.

Nothing would give the industry a desperately needed shot in the arm at this point — like the real thing.

The Gazette editorial board

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