Fear of ripple effect from tighter restrictions present in Teller County

FLORISSANT, Colo. — Teller County will join its neighbors in El Paso and Pueblo Counties at level orange on the COVID-19 dial starting Monday, and the fear of a ripple effect the restrictions might bring is present, even in the farthest reaches of the county.

If you venture into the hinterlands of Teller County, you’ll probably come across the town of Florissant.

“We’re on the edge of the known universe, so pretty far out there,” restaurant owner Jocelyn Alvrizzi said.

“We’re a town of 105 people,” Alvrizzi’s business partner Ross Derby said.

In Florissant, you’ll find what you’d expect to find, or not find, in a town this size.

“Basically four buildings on the corner. No stoplight,” Derby said. “We’re mostly a seasonal, summer camping, ATVing location.”

You’ll find community hangouts like the Iron Tree restaurant.

“We’re locally minded, so we try to reach out to local farmers,” Alvrizzi said. We support our community a lot, and we make really good food.”

And this year, Iron Tree’s owners Alvrizzi and Derby learned, in a town this size, they’re more than just a hangout.

“It’s been a roller coaster ride,” Alvrizzi said. “When there was the toilet paper shortage we kind of became a grocery store. We were selling our milk and our hamburger buns and our meats.”

Because in this small town, you’ll also find big city restrictions.

“We heard that Teller just turned orange,” Alvrizzi said.

On Monday, Teller County will join El Paso County and Pueblo County in Safer at Home Level Three restrictions.

“We’re about to go into 25 percent, I believe, capacity,” she said.

Also, unless an exception is granted, all casinos in nearby Cripple Creek will have to close.

“The people who would typically come in here and eat, if they’re not working in the casinos–which is a very big employer here in Teller County–that’s also gonna directly affect our business,” Derby said.

It could bring a tidal wave reaching far beyond its origin.

“I think it’s going to affect Woodland Park, Florissant, everywhere,” Alvrizzi said.