DENVER (KDVR) — Colorado restaurant and bar owners are eager for guidance on how to safely reopen ahead of Gov. Jared Polis’ expected announcement May 25.
Polis said previously the state should have the necessary data to make an informed decision on next steps for restaurants and bars by that date.
“It’s really hard for people to plan on how to reopen when we don’t have information on what is going to be considered the safest way to serve guests,” said Katie Lazor, Executive Director of Eat Denver, a nonprofit independent restaurant association.
Lazor says a majority of independent Denver restaurants are already putting together safety plans, despite not knowing what will be included in the state’s plan.
“If we could have those stipulations for what it’s going to look like for us to start reopening and have a guide or a plan in place, that would make it a lot easier for all of us,” said Phil Simonson, owner of Chocolate Lab Denver.
Simonson says he and his team have already taken steps to protect customers once they’re able to allow dine-in service.
“Our staff are all going to be wearing masks, they’ll have gloves on. We have some clear face shields that they’ll be wearing to help us stay safe here in the shop,” said Simonson.
He says they also plan to separate tables with clear curtains and will only allow reservations during certain time blocks. Walk-in dining will not be allowed, initially. Simonson says he plans to wait a week or two past the allowed reopening date before starting up walk-in dining.
“Just so we can see what the trends of people going out to dinner are. We want to make sure our staff is safe. We want to make sure our clientele that’s coming in here is going to be safe,” said Simonson.
Lazor points out the guidelines expected to come at the end of the month will impact restaurants different depending on the size and layout.
“Think about McDonald’s, think about a Chipotle and think about your small neighborhood restaurant with or without a patio, with seats that are really tight in an intimate space. Think about making decisions that apply to all of those scenarios while keeping everyone safe,” said Lazor.