DENVER (KDVR) — Labor Day marks an important weekend for Colorado restaurants and businesses that rely on outdoor service to bolster profits and stay afloat.
Now, as we head towards cooler weather and a new chapter of the pandemic, there are new challenges.
Just as vaccines were widely distributed in the spring, restaurants saw a seated dining rate of 80%. Business owners are determined to hang on to those gains.
Noemi Ramos, general manager of Ivy on 7th in Denver, has seen the acclaimed restaurant sustain itself throughout the pandemic.
“They come and support us. That means that the money staying here is going to our employees,” she said.
The busy and bustling wait staff greets customers with a smile, which they say comes from knowing the business is booming with loyal fans who want to show their support.
“I’m just very thankful for everyone to support us through COVID,” crew member Jackie Garcia said.
The five-star-rated restaurant is one of a group of restaurants that remain open and popular in the busy neighborhood, including Carboy Winery, Angelos Taverna on Sixth Avenue and Logan Street restaurant and bar.
Customers enjoy incentives and are reassured by strict public health and safety protocols, staff training and routine sanitization of tables, doorknobs and other surfaces, in addition to hand sanitization practices.
Ramos said keeping the customer happy and safe is the key to building a successful business that provides security for employees “so that they can pay their rent and pay for their food.”
“We’re a crew here, but we’re also family in the end,” Garcia said.
As the holiday weekend began, The Colorado Restaurant Association provided this statement to FOX31:
“Restaurants in downtown Denver are excited and ready to welcome guests over Labor Day weekend, and they continue to focus on keeping their guests and staff members safe and healthy. Don’t forget, safety is and always has been the restaurant industry’s highest concern.
For the most comfortable Labor Day weekend experience, people heading downtown should bring masks, regardless of vaccination status, so they’re prepared to follow whatever safety protocols local restaurants ask of them when they enter their establishments. Restaurants are just beginning to recover from the worst 18 months in living memory and deserve our patience, understanding, and empathy as they build back their teams and their businesses. Please follow whatever rules are in place and be kind!”Colorado Restaurant Association