Colorado business owners cautiously optimistic about potential new guidelines

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DENVER (KDVR) — Bar owners and organizers of large events are working to meet new “Protect Our Neighbors” guidelines proposed by the state.

The guidelines would ease some restrictions in Colorado’s fight against COVID-19, but there are still significant challenges.

At the Matchbox bar in the heart of RiNo, co-owner Justin Anthony says he’s cautiously optimistic about the new guidelines.

Among the changes: bars like his across the state will no longer be required to serve food.

Anthony says that is a big help.

“Adding another component to a business that’s already complicated is a real challenge,” said Anthony.

“Protect Our Neighbors” will allow bars in Colorado to open at 25% capacity or serve up to 50 people, whichever is smaller.

Restrictions could ease further if coronavirus cases continue to decline.

Still, Anthony is concerned.

“We really have no indication of how things are going to change. Will there be a second wave? What will that mean? Will these restrictions that are just now beginning to be lessened that are giving us some breathing room be snapped right back?” he said.

Matchbox is dealing with the changes – and so is the Colorado State Fair in Pueblo.

Major changes are now in store for the event this year, even though “Protect Our Neighbors” allows crowds at outdoor events.

Scott Stoller, the fair’s general manager, says this year’s event will be different.

“We’re not going to be able to have that free movement around the grounds like people would expect at the State Fair,” said Stoller

Some venues which include 4H and FFA student competitions will now only 175 people in some show barns under the proposed guidelines.

But Stoller says the show must go on and could include guided tours.

“Our events center which normally hosts concerts, you might see pig pens in there. Or the Ag Palace which has all of our shopping, you might see sheep in there or goats in there so we can spread around those livestock exhibitors,” he said.

Vendors will no longer be in their traditional spaces.

The State Fair is scheduled for Aug. 25 through Sept. 7.

The governor’s office will continue taking recommendations on the proposed guidelines until Thursday.

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