Giving Thanks

BY Sonia Riggs


Giving Thanks

A few words on gratitude—even during dark times.

Gratitude is a funny thing. Science tells us that we can change our brains’ wiring, as well as the outcomes of our daily lives, by focusing on what we’re thankful for. Does that hold true even after slogging through the stressful, exhausting muck the restaurant industry has been mired in over the past 20 months? I believe it does.

Yes, the industry remains in peril, facing ever-rising operational overhead, supply-chain nightmares, and a dire labor shortage. It’s true, the Restaurant Revitalization Fund left more Colorado owners disappointed than supported. And as I write this letter, operators who employ more than 100 workers must soon require proof of COVID-19 vaccination or negative testing—with very little guidance from the federal government.

Yet, there are reasons to feel thankful. I’m ever grateful for the staff at the Colorado Restaurant Association (CRA), which has worked tirelessly to help you survive and thrive, despite unrelenting pandemic obstacles. I’m grateful that local restaurants are operating without capacity restrictions and that most Colorado restaurant workers are vaccinated. It’s heartening to know the operators who invested in outdoor dining last winter now have more seating options. I’m grateful for the tax breaks restaurants received over the past year, and that alcohol-to-go legislation is securely in place through summer 2025.

Looking ahead, know that the CRA is still fighting for you. We are thrilled to be partnering with the Colorado Restaurant Foundation (CRF) and the City of Denver’s office of Denver Economic Development & Opportunity on the “Denver Back to Work” grant program, which provides up to $10,000 for hiring and retention bonuses. I recently testified before the state legislature’s Economic Relief and Recovery Task Force about the dire economic straits restaurants are facing. I recommended using American Rescue Plan Act dollars to fill the depleted Unemployment Insurance Trust Fund and provide more tax breaks and assistance grants to help your businesses. We’re building out our hospitality job board ( with more resources to help combat the labor shortage and help with staff retention, and the CRF is expanding its apprenticeship partnerships across the state to widen the talent pipeline. As the 2022 legislative session begins, the entire team at the CRA is ready to advocate and fight for your interests at every level of government.

Please let us know how else we can support you (email us at and sign up for our emails to stay informed at Most of all, we’re thankful for every single restaurant in Colorado, and will do all that we can to help you weather 2022 and beyond.

Talk to us! Email your experiences (and thoughts, opinions, and questions—anything, really) to


Sonia Riggs

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