DENVER (KDVR) – Gov. Jared Polis has announced that for the next 30 days alcohol sales at bars and restaurants will need to stop at 10 p.m. nightly.
Polis said businesses can remain open later if they choose, but they must stop alcohol sales.
While alcohol does not cause or contribute to COVID-19, Polis said inebriation can lead to people disregarding social distancing requirements and therefore spreading the virus more easily.
In response to Polis’ announcement, the Colorado Restaurant Association issued a statement to FOX31 questioning the data that led to this decision.
“We’re extremely disappointed in this order. This is a major blow to an industry that is already suffering gravely. We’d like to see the data that backs up this decision, especially as it’s our understanding that restaurants account for just 4 percent of the outbreaks in this state,” Colorado Restaurant Association CEO Sonia Riggs said.
With the announcement, Polis said he plans to look at the current 2 a.m. last call law and give local communities more control if they wish to allow for the sale of alcohol at licensed establishments later into the night.
“We have a very bad law in Colorado,” Polis said. “I don’t know why.”
FOX31 talked to Sean Kenyon, owner of Occidental Bar in the Highlands, about the new last call hours.
“It’s an assumption that we as business owners are not being responsible. We have gone overboard (to protect patrons) by giving them temperature checks and in creating social distancing seating. This is mind numbing to me,” he said.
Kenyon said the new hours will make his struggle even more difficult.
Later Tuesday night, Blake Street Tavern announced more than 200 restaurants that are part of the Tavern League are planning to sue over the new order.
More information on the litigation is expected Wednesday.