A Colorado man related the story of losing his business due to COVID-related mandates and how family and faith helped him persevere.
Jesse Arellano told Fox News Digital that C&C Breakfast and Korean Kitchen of Colorado was successful with two locations in the state until the hand of the government shuttered them forever.
“We were really a family-oriented small business, just mom and pop — me and my wife and my son Zander and my daughter Isabella, even though she mostly just drank the soda,” he said.
At the outset of lockdowns in March 2020, Arellano said he knew the business would likely not survive. The family’s Castle Rock location alone had 35 employees who would lose their jobs as a result.
“We were closed down,” said Arellano. “They said 15 days … to slow the spread. We said, ‘You know what? Enough is enough. You’re going to kill us. You’re going to kill our business,’” he told the outlet in an interview.
Revenue dropped by 80 percent and the to-go orders were not enough to sustain the family’s enterprise.
After two months of lockdowns, Arellano decided to ignore local government orders against indoor dining and reopen the doors on Mothers’ Day 2020.
“As far as we were concerned, the government didn’t own our business — and they couldn’t tell us to shut down,” he said.
While the Arellanos had support from many, some said detractors said the reopening was harming the state’s restaurant industry, the outlet reported.
Then came a $15,000 fine.
“Of course, we [couldn’t] handle that,” Arellano said.
The health department shuttered the doors and suspended their license. After some successful litigation and new guidelines, however, the restaurants were allowed to open for a couple of months. Still, the effects of COVID policies – as well as the death of Arellano’s father during the pandemic – forced Arellano again to close both locations in Castle Rock and Colorado Springs.
“We were bleeding money and the stress was immense,” he recalled. “This is America. We’re supposed to help small businesses. We’re supposed to be the backbone of our country.”
But the compounded effects made it too hard for the business to stay afloat, and the family lost virtually everything.
Asked if he might do things differently in hindsight, Arellano said he would simply have stayed open, at least for longer than he did.
“If I could go back, I probably would have just stayed open more,” he said.
“The government doesn’t get to run your business,” he said. “This is America — and unfortunately, that’s more of what we saw, that if you do not comply, we’re going to destroy you.”
The family has since moved on.
Jesse Arellano is currently working a steady 9-5 job in IT, and his wife is homeschooling their children, owing to the back-and-forth of school openings and closings that became exhausting.
“Without our faith, I don’t think we could’ve made it through,” he told Fox News Digital. “It’s been probably the hardest two years, but we just try to keep our head up and move on.”
He added, “This was the most painful time of my life. I lost my father on April 6, 2020. A month before that, we were closed by the [state of Colorado]. We were not even able to have a real funeral for him [his dad] because of the restrictions.”
“Having faith and knowing that my father is in heaven was the main thing that brought me hope — that I would see him again one day.”
Arellano said it was the collective faith of his family “that allowed us to stay strong and move forward. We focused our eyes on God for our strength and peace.”
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