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Denver to Consider Proposals for Physical Distancing at Restaurants and Bars

Denver – The City and County of Denver is taking action to help bars and restaurants during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Denver is creating a temporary program to expand options for restaurants, bars and other similar businesses to operate in outdoor settings adjacent to their businesses. The intent of the program is to allow for greater physical distancing and safety for patrons when the state’s public health orders allow restaurants and bars to resume sit-down service. While final rules and regulations are still in development, proposals could include expansion into designated outdoor areas such as adjacent parking lots, streets and sidewalks.

To gauge interest, Denver has created a webpage where eligible businesses can submit a proposal for the city to review. Considerations for every proposal will include plans and accommodations for safety, mobility, and local and emergency access.

“Business owners need time to prepare for re-opening, and we want to set them up for success as soon as dine-in becomes permissible again,” Mayor Michael B. Hancock said. “We also want to ensure it’s safe for employees and customers to return to these businesses when that time comes.”

Although the state has not set a reopening date for restaurants and bars, the city is opening the application process now in order to proactively manage the review of expansion requests. Eligible businesses for this program include restaurants, bars, cafes, coffee shops, taverns, brew pubs, breweries, microbreweries, distillery pubs, wineries, tasting rooms and other similar places of public accommodation offering food or alcohol beverages for on-premises consumption.

Once approved, this program will be available to those eligible businesses for the duration of the outdoor summer dining season through September 7, 2020, at which time the city may evaluate a potential extension of the program.

“Expanding outdoor seating will give more guests the opportunity to enjoy their favorite eating and drinking establishments in a safe way and support these businesses that are so vital to our neighborhoods. We are thrilled that Denver leaders have moved quickly to launch this effort, and we hope it can become a successful model for restaurants and bars across the state,” said Sonia Riggs, president and chief executive officer of the Colorado Restaurant Association.

“Denver’s restaurant and bar operators have been working around the clock through this entire crisis to innovate and adapt their businesses to be safer than ever. Mayor Hancock and his team are making Denver proud by moving proactively on this massive effort to support restaurants and patrons,” said Katie Lazor, executive director of EatDenver.

In partnership with the Colorado Restaurant Association and EatDenver, a virtual information session will be held from 1 – 2 p.m., Tuesday, May 19. Members of Denver’s restaurant and bar community can register to attend the information session at this link.

A link to the interest form and more information is available at The city will begin accepting interest forms online today. This initiative was developed in collaboration with the Mayor’s Economic Relief and Recovery Council, an advisory group established to support the relief and recovery efforts of Denver’s economy.

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