[Update May 26 at 5:41 p.m.: According to this FAQ document, breweries that partner with food trucks or restaurants can re-open for dine-in. See below for more information.]
[Update May 25 at 4:30 p.m.: Denver has issued a statement saying it will align with the State’s decision to allow restaurants to re-open for dine-in service on May 27. See below for the full statement.]
After much anticipation, Governor Jared Polis has finally released the date Colorado restaurants can re-open. Starting Wednesday, May 27, establishments that serve food can open their doors to patrons for both indoor and outdoor seating. But much like everything else in this pandemic, the experience of eating out will not be the same.
- Indoor dining can operate at 50% of its occupancy but it is capped at 50 people maximum
- Tables and patrons must remain six feet apart at all times and clear markings on the floor must help people maintain distance
- All employees, vendors and contractors must wear facial coverings at all times while in the establishment
- Tables, chairs and shared surfaces must be disinfected between seatings
- Reservations are highly encouraged
- No buffets, communal seating or seat yourself options
- No parties larger than eight
- Must provide hand sanitizer for patrons
- Monitor symptoms and health of employees
- Encourage and use outdoor seating with tables six feet apart
Go here to read the full guidance
Despite these statewide guidelines there are still some issues up to the discretion of local public health departments. Therefore who, what, where and when will likely be different for every county. For example, restaurants need expanded outdoor seating to compensate for the reduced indoor capacity. Local governments will be in charge of how or if expanded outdoor seating is implemented. So while some counties and restaurants will be able to re-open starting as soon as May 27 — many still have to wait while more details are ironed out. What about breweries? The Governor’s website says establishments that do not serve food will be evaluated in June. But this caveat posted in the FAQ section explains that breweries that partner with food trucks or restaurants can re-open under the new guidelines as long as the food is prepared and served on-site. Lightbar snacks or items commercially prepared and heated up on-site do not count.
As for Denver, the city announced Monday afternoon it will align with the state’s decision.
“The City and County of Denver will align with the State’s decision allowing restaurants to resume limited sit-down service on Wednesday, May 27. The city may make additional adjustments in the coming days, and face coverings will be required for restaurant employees and customers, except while eating and drinking. We are looking forward to safely welcoming back sit-down service at Denver restaurants, and are working quickly to process the 375 applications we have received the past few days to expand outdoor patio seating. I also strongly encourage vulnerable populations to continue to abide by more stringent safer-at-home guidelines,” explained Mayor Michael B. Hancock in an emailed statement.