Colorado restaurants eager for new guidelines from governor

Coronavirus

DENVER (KDVR) — Colorado restaurant owners are eagerly awaiting new guidelines from the state about how and when they can reopen to dine-in customers.

On Tuesday, the state released a draft of guidelines and said it would be collecting feedback from stakeholders until Friday.

On May 25, Gov. Jared Polis is expected to announce if restaurants can begin reopening.

His office sent the following statement to FOX31 and Channel 2:

“The Governor has said the state will weigh in on restaurants on May 25 based on the best available data and we are taking this one step at a time to continue to slow the spread of the virus while ensuring our economy can bounce back. The state will provide guidance based on the virus transmission trajectory. During Stay-at-Home and into Safer at Home, the administration has communicated with stakeholders, holding webinars and calls, and will continue doing so as the state considers changes moving forward.”

In the meantime, restaurant owners have been readying their businesses to reopen.

Restaurants say they are not sure how much longer they can stay open with only take-out and delivery services under the Colorado’s current “Safer at Home” orders. 

At the Breakfast Queen in Englewood, there has been a mad scramble to prepare to reopen to dine-in customers. The restaurant is now open for delivery and carryout.

Its staff are eager to allow customers to start coming in. 

But with no certain guidelines from the state yet, how to set the place up according to the state’s rules is unclear.

“We don’t know what to do. We don’t know where to get the information. We’re all hanging on by a thread. We just need to know the guidelines,” said Kosta Vasilas, Breakfast Queen’s owner.

His restaurant has set its indoor tables at least eight feet apart. Plexiglass has been installed to help protect cashiers and customers. Outdoor seating is ready to go.

They are all efforts to save the business, which is in financial jeopardy.

“We’ve got a month of savings left. After that, it’s dismal. I know a lot of businesses around here that just aren’t going to reopen,” Vasilas said.

Rent is expensive along the stretch of South Broadway where his restaurant is located.

Owners are hoping the new rules allow enough customers in to make their businesses financially viable.

“We are hoping at this point have at least 50 percent occupancy,” said Brian Meadows, the owner of Gallo Supper Club, also located in Englewood.

The Colorado Restaurant Association sent the state a letter with questions and comments about the draft guidelines published earlier this week. 

“Restaurants need clear guidelines that can be easily complied with. This will allow them to reopen quickly and safely,” said Sonia Riggs, the CRA’s CEO.

The association is hoping the final guidelines clarify several of the points causing confusion.

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