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Polis administration to release draft guidelines for reopening restaurants

Polis administration to release draft guidelines for reopening restaurants in the next day

David Zalubowski / AP
A shopper loads goods into a waiting van outside a warehouse store for a local restaurant as businesses start again with the easing of restrictions due to the new coronavirus Wednesday, May 13, 2020, in Denver.

(The Center Square) – Colorado Gov. Jared Polis said Monday that his administration will release draft guidelines for reopening restaurants and bars sometime in the next day.

Restaurants, local governments, and the public will have a chance to weigh in on the guidelines once they’re released, and a decision about a final reopening date will be made May 25.

“I’m also encouraging all the cities and counties that restaurants operate in to look at their options for outdoor dining,” Polis said, noting that could mean utilizing sidewalks, parking lots and streets.

“That’s really the only way with the spacing that we’re going to have a thriving restaurant environment for the coming months,” he said.

The governor added that the state would wave regulations for serving alcohol on streets, and "anything else that gets in the way of restaurants doing that.”

“The key pathway for restaurants to reach 100 percent or greater capacity involves the use of our beautiful outdoors in the evenings and during lunchtime,” Polis said.

Restaurants and bars first closed to dine-in service on March 16, 10 days before the state's stay-at-home order went into effect.

Polis said two weeks after the closures that the move “slightly delayed the peak and slowed the spread" of COVID-19.

The National Restaurant Association estimated that 73 percent of restaurant employees in Colorado – or 173,000 – had been laid off or furloughed because of the COVID-19 pandemic, based on their April survey results.

The trade group along with the Colorado Restaurant Association conducted the survey of businesses, which also found that 53 percent of restaurant operators had to temporarily close. The National Restaurant Association also estimated that the state’s restaurant and food service industry would lose $975 million in April.

Last week, the state health department suspended the license of a restaurant in Castle Rock that opened to dine-in service on Mother’s Day.

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