Iconic Ketchum restaurant installs COVID-19 precautions prior to tourism season

Posted at 11:48 AM, Nov 29, 2020
and last updated 2020-11-30 12:12:56-05

KETCHUM, Idaho — Grumpy's has been a staple in Ketchum, providing a place for skiers and snowboarders to grab a burger and a beer since 1978.

The local flavor helped Sun Valley capture the number one ranking for ski resorts in the West by Ski Magazine.

But how does a place that relies on tourism create a safe environment during a global pandemic that allows visitors to come for the winter tourism season?

Grumpy's decided to go above and beyond to create a place where their staff and customers feel safe.

"Most of our employees either have parents who live here that are older or family members for one reason or another are compromised," said Pete Prekeges, the owner of Grumpy's. "So we want to keep everyone safe."

Grumpy's typically has a rowdy atmosphere, and on a normal day after the lifts close its elbow to elbow inside this small establishment.

"You've been in Grumpy's before Steve, I have six tables," said Prekeges. "We have more Plexiglas than the hockey area."

Here's what Grumpy's looks like today.

Grumpy's also installed a signal light on the front door. When it is green, customers can come inside. When it is red, they are asked to stay outside.

Grumpy's has also spent money to create more outdoor space as well.

They build a tent called the COVID Cabana, they will create an outdoor bar and have a couple of other areas they will open with bistro lights and fireplaces, the owner also asks for cooperation from visitors.

"This is all we have, we don't have enough people in this town who live here year-round to keep all the restaurants busy, it's a tourist town," said Prekeges. "If tourists want to come and not get us to shut down, I hope they will just mind the protocols and have some courtesy, consideration and compassion for their fellow humans."

Ketchum and the surrounding communities have a mask mandate they ask visitors to adhere to, it's something Prekeges appreciates, but he believes it will be a busy tourism season.

"Everyone is either moving here or vacationing here, so we expect it to be busy," said Prekeges. "We've always been that iconic ski town place."