COVID-19 restrictions threaten to permanently close historic West Colfax business

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DENVER (KDVR) — The owner of a historic Denver business is fighting to reopen as COVID-19 restrictions threaten to permanently close the iconic spot. 

“I think the worst part is the waiting,” said Amy Hyman, owner of Lake Steam Baths of West Colfax Avenue. 

Hyman took over the traditional Russian Turkish bathhouse in 2015 after the death of her husband, whose family started the business in 1927. The bathhouse survived the Great Depression and several wars but Hyman fears COVID-19 restrictions may force them into a devastating financial situation. 

“This is out of my hands, I can’t do anything. My hands are tied and that’s the most frustrating part of this,” said Hyman.

The bathhouse features a traditional bath area, steam room and giant sauna. The massage section of the business has been allowed to reopen, but Hyman says that’s not a significant source of revenue. She feels they could safely open other areas at limited capacity while implementing proper social distancing.

“That would generate what’s needed for the business to survive, which is the money I make off the bath area,” said Hyman.

Hyman says she continues to receive support from customers and the community.

“Every day we’re here answering the phone and we’ve got people wanting to come back and I’m just not able to open the door. It’s a very unique business,” said Hyman.

Hyman says she turns on the bath area once a week to make sure it’s ready once people are able to return.

“I actually turn it on just so that it feels like it’s alive. I know that sounds really silly but it’s been working since 1927. It’s just what feels right,” said Hyman.

A GoFundMe page is set up to offer financial support for the business.

Recent health inspection records for Lake Steam Baths show one critical violation in December 2019 for a drain gate in the pool area that was not secure. That violation was corrected upon the next inspection.

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