Our View: Sorry for the inconvenience
So you got stuck in the construction on U.S. Highway 6. And your trip to Glenwood got postponed because the canyon was closed again. And, oh yeah, you had to wait a while to get a table at your favorite local restaurant and the food was slow coming out.
Here’s some friendly advice: Get over it.
Yeah, waiting in traffic stinks. Yes, these interstate closures are a nightmare. And, sure, nobody likes waiting too long for a burger and a cold drink.
But before you decide to honk your horn in the traffic queue, or chew out an overworked waiter at a restaurant that’s likely understaffed, take a look around. You might just reconsider.
For one, if you haven’t noticed, the worker shortage in this valley has reached a crisis level. Local restaurants ravaged by shutdowns and capacity restrictions brought on by the pandemic are now having the opposite problem: not being able to find enough workers to staff restaurants that can run at full capacity.
Support Local Journalism
It’s a double gut punch that’s likely to get much worse when local teenagers head back to class in a few weeks. Everywhere around this valley, local businesses are trying to make do — and make up for what they lost during the pandemic — while running short-handed.
Some have closed certain days. Some have dropped shifts. Others are closing sections of the restaurant. And, in case you haven’t noticed, everybody working in these places is busting their humps.
So, no, your chicken parm isn’t slow coming out because the service is bad — it’s likely because your waiter is in the weeds with too many tables and the kitchen is down a few line cooks and there’s a line out the door. Nobody’s slacking off.
These businesses certainly need the business, and what they also need right now is a little grace. Patience is in too short of supply.
That’s especially true when it comes to the road crews standing out in the hot sun every day. Don’t take it from us. Take it from a recent social media post that made the rounds.
An EagleVail resident recently shared her encounter one morning with one of the road workers on Highway 6. The worker apologized for holding her up on her bike, which she said wasn’t a big deal, and then the worker relayed a story about how he had been spit on by some angry passersby.
Seriously? You’re so upset about waiting in traffic for a couple of minutes that you had to share your phlegm with the guy holding the stop sign?
That’s just not OK. Our valley’s workers certainly deserve better for simply doing their jobs. Instead of spitting, you might roll down the window and thank that road worker for standing in the sun for eight hours and keeping you safe.
Also, the new blacktop running through EagleVail and on parts of Vail Pass is pretty sweet. It’s a huge improvement over the potholes and ruts.
And the road diet that’s currently underway in EagleVail is going to connect one of the last missing sections of the long-imagined effort to create a continuous hard surface trail from Vail Pass to Glenwood Canyon. The recreation path for bikers and pedestrians will make a dangerous stretch of highway much safer and make life easier for local businesses and local residents.
Trust us, it’s worth the wait.
As for the canyon closures and recent mudslides, well, that’s a topic for another column. Let’s just say we’re all to blame for the extreme weather we’ve been experiencing in the West in recent summers. Don’t blame Mother Nature for a burn scar that’s bleeding mud every time it rains. And don’t blame Colorado Department of Transportation officials for shutting down the interstate out of caution to protect lives.
It’s not the end of the world that you can’t make that Target run.
The Vail Daily Editorial Board is Publisher Mark Wurzer, Editor Nate Peterson, Assistant Editor Sean Naylor, Business Editor Scott Miller and Eagle Valley Enterprise Editor Pam Boyd.