By Makenzie O'Keefe

ARVADA, Colo. (CBS4) – Restaurants and businesses in Olde Town Arvada will soon have more space to serve customers. The Olde Town Arvada Business Improvement District is working on a plan to shut down roadways to allow businesses to expand patios.

“I think the fresh air, the UV rays, all that, is going to help people feel a little bit more safe,” explained AJ Payne, the General Manager of Hunter Bay Coffee Roasters in Olde Town Arvada.

(credit: CBS)

When businesses began moving towards reopening and recovery, the district began looking at ways to help.

“From there we really heard that it was a possibility to close down the streets, and have retail move outside,” said Joe Hengstler, the Executive Director of the Olde Town Arvada Business Improvement District. “Have patios expanded and really create an environment where people could spread out and social distance.”

The plan is to shut down roadways in Olde Town, turning the area into a pedestrian-like mall.

“More people are likely to come down here if they feel like it’s a fun environment, but most importantly that it’s safe,” Hengstler said.

The extra space will allow restaurants like Hunter Bay Coffee Roasters to expand their outdoor seating.

“I think it’s going to be awesome,” Payne said. “Most restaurants can’t make money at 50% occupancy.”

(credit: CBS)

On Monday, the state mandated that restaurants could reopen as long as they keep occupancy at 50%, or 50 people. Payne said having the option to extend patio space into the street will help restaurants reach more customers safely.

“This is really going to increase that opportunity to start making some money again, maybe bring some more people back,” he said.

The closed streets will also provide outdoor space for retailers. BaleFire Goods is an artisan jewelry store that will be using the space for demonstrations.

“We’re just excited for all of this area to be revitalized and be busy and bustling in a safe and distanced way,” said Jamie Hollier, the owner of Balefire.

The BID said visitors can expect to see the roadways closed down, and instead of cars there will be socially distance, bright-colored tables.

“This area was designed to be pedestrian friendly and now people won’t have to worry about traffic,” Hengstler said. “It’s giving everybody the ability to thrive in this new atmosphere and it’s something we are really, really looking forward to.”

(credit: CBS)

The BID said they are currently working with the state as quickly as possible to get everything set in stone, like expanded liquor licenses for the extended outdoor seating. They will test this closure out throughout the entire summer.

“I think they should close down the streets all the time,” Payne said. “People are already starting to get to the point where they want to get out and do something. And I think this is the safest way to do it.”

Makenzie O'Keefe

  1. Mary says:

    I know this may seem contrarion of me, but where are the patrons going to park? Are the restaurants in that area going to “rent” a communal parking lot, then shuttle patrons to the area (maintaining social distancing on the shuttle buses or in the vehicles) and have them walk the rest of the distance? Isn’t that equally likely to cut into the restaurants’ business or are patrons supposed to hire a ride sharing service, which will cut into how much they have to spend on their meals? Very few of us live within walking distance of our favorite restaurants, so we drive and park (and for every parking lot, a certain percent BY ADA requirements, must be dedicated to handicapped parking).

    I’m not saying I don’t understand the need to seat more than 50% (or 50 people, whichever is fewer) – as I understand it, if a restaurant can’t maintain an average of 70-75% occupancy, it will fail (although certainly nothing is stopping them from continuing take-out and delivery services to help those numbers). I also understand the logic of expanding patio areas since they are allowed unlimited seating provided the tables are properly spaced, even into streets, alleys, and parking lots to increase the number of seats. I just don’t understand how the logistics will work for folks who don’t live within easy walking distance of these places – or how the amount of space given each restaurant in a “row” of restaurants will be allocated.

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