DENVER (CBS4) – The much anticipated guidelines for restaurants to reopen were released from the state of Colorado on Tuesday, but feedback will be considered before final rules are put in place. Many restaurants are concerned the rules could be too strict and would hamper rehiring staff.
In Denver, restaurants are looking toward outdoor space to reinvigorate dine-in customers.
“Not opening at 100% is really scary. It’s scary for the bottom line in the restaurant business, and so the ability to expand our patios out and still respect the social distancing is really important for the safety and concern of our guests,” said Beth Gruitch, a partner in an ownership group that operates four downtown restaurants.
Gruitch’s group operates Stoic & Genuine and Ultria at Union Station. They also run Rioja and Bistro Vendome on Larimer Square. At both locations there’s an emphasis on available open space. The hope is Union Station’s large courtyards could hold outdoor seating.
The Downtown Denver Partnership has asked the city to close down Larimer Street where it runs through Larimer Square so businesses can use the roadway as expanded patio space.
“It’ll still allow us to provide an environment where people will have a great time,” Gruitch said.
But without firm rules in place, final concepts are unknown.
“We would love to have a tent up. It would be amazing because then we could seat it at any time of the day, day or night, rain or shine,” she said.
Feedback at both the city and state level are still changing guidelines. What’s almost certain is that indoor capacity will be limited with tables needing to be spaced eight feet apart.
“We’re not going to open our doors and have this flux of people come running in. They need to be safe because we’re here to keep them safe,” Gruitch said. “We hope that there is a lot of support out there for the restaurants to get back open. Because I think we’re a big part of the heart and soul of this city.”