Gov. Jared Polis clarifies restaurant reopening guidelines, discussed COVID-19 testing

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DENVER (KDVR) — Governor Jared Polis updated the state regarding restaurants reopening, ski prohibition expiring and the state’s testing capacity, among several other topics.

The restaurant industry employs over 294,000 Coloradans, which Polis touched upon in his news conference. He offered options to outdoor dining for restaurants to help increase the amount of patrons they can serve.

“We’re suspending all the different state rules that maximize outdoor dining services. And of course encouraging our local government friends to make public spaces available for outside dining,” Polis said.

“Restaurants can expand on their own property outdoors. They can expand on adjacent or non-adjacent private plots as long as they have permission of the land owner and then subject to permission from their local government. They might be opening sidewalks or parking lots or other public areas for dining as well.”

While the governor gave several reasons outdoor dining will help the restaurant industry, he specifically related to the necessity of it for their survival.

“It allows for more spacing and allows for the restaurants to be able to survive. Because at 50 percent many of them can’t get by,” Polis said. “This is a way where they can be at 100 percent of the normal capacity or even more, whatever their kitchen can handle, if the customers are there cause people are spread apart outdoors.”

Polis also touched upon the announcement of the ski prohibition ending and Arapahoe Basin reopening. He emphasized that A-Basin is open for the athletic aspect of skiing and not the partying.

“It’s the athletic and individual experience of skiing,” Polis said. “But it’s not the normal party post-ski environment.”

Polis confirmed that the state now has the capacity to meet the 8,500 tests per day goal that was set for the end of May. He also said an eight-week period of testing will take place at 30 of the largest senior care facilities across the state.

“We’ve scaled up our testing capabilities rapidly. In fact, I’m proud to announce that we’re testing four to five thousand Coloradans a day,” Polis said. “On Friday of last week, we tested over 6,000 in a single day, including more than 2,000 at the state lab.”

Polis also announced a 17-month contract with Honeywell for six million N95 masks for the state.

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