Health department responds to Colorado restaurants’ plan to reopen to dine-in customers


DOUGLAS COUNTY, Colo. (KDVR) — The Tri-County Health Department (TCHD) on Friday evening responded to plans for some Colorado restaurants to resume dine-in services before the state allows them.

According to a number of social media posts, more than 100 restaurant owners met in Parker on Thursday to discuss allowing dine-in customers.

John Jordan, an organizer of the effort, wrote “as many as 421 restaurants will open this weekend in defiance of Polis’ orders.”

John Oltmann, the owner of Villa Parker, said the 421 restaurants are located across the Front Range.

As of Friday night, at least one Parker restaurant had already reopened and was hosting a concert.

FOX31 and Channel 2 have reached out to those organizing the effort. We have not yet received a response.

TCHD oversees Adams, Arapahoe and Douglas counties.

It issued the following statement in response to the plans:

“Tri-County Health Department (TCHD) urges everyone to observe the state’s Safer at Home guidelines until they expire or are revised to enhance the safe re-opening of our communities. In accordance with the Governor’s Public Health Order, we encourage restaurants to continue to provide take-out and curbside service until the new draft guidance for restaurants is finalized and adopted.  Tri-County Health Department will respond to complaints to the best of our ability to ensure the public’s health and safety. 

We encourage the general public to continue to follow public health guidance to protect themselves, including wearing a cloth face covering when in public, staying 6 feet away from others, practicing good hygiene, isolating and getting tested if experiencing symptoms of COVID-19, and avoiding gatherings more than 10 people.”

Earlier this week, the state released a draft of guidelines for reopening restaurants and said it would be collecting feedback from stakeholders until Friday.

On Memorial Day, Gov. Jared Polis plans to announce whether restaurants can reopen to dine-in customers.

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

“Memorial Day weekend is a time to honor those who made the ultimate sacrifice for the freedoms we hold dear not for political gamesmanship.  No one wants to ensure the economy bounces back stronger than before more than the Governor which is why the state released draft information related to opening restaurants last Monday based on the best available data and practices to inspire customer confidence and protect our health.  The Governor has heard from over 2,000 restaurants through public comments that improve the prospects for restaurants across the state as he works to finalize how restaurants can safely open as soon as next week.“

In the meantime, restaurant owners have been readying their businesses to reopen. But some are frustrated that they were unable to reopen for Memorial Day weekend and are unsure of exactly what the official guidelines will entail.

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