DENVER (CBS4) – Wednesday was the first day restaurants were finally able to let customers back in to dine, however some restaurants are still waiting to open-up indoor seating.
CBS4 talked with several restaurants who said they wanted to wait as long as possible for an all-clear. DiFranco’s, an Italian restaurant in Denver’s Capitol Hill neighborhood is one of those restaurants. Their owner told CBS4 they have a small seating area, and opening-up at half capacity would only allow about 4 tables, so they will continue take-out and delivery service only. Some establishments also believe that opening at half capacity didn’t make financial sense.
These factors are what many operators found themselves weighing on the first day of re-opening.
As CBS4 checked in throughout the day Wednesday in downtown Denver, business picked-up gradually and remained steady for the first day. It was clear that many establishments had reconfigured tables and chairs to keep customers at least 6 feet apart. Servers were also seen wearing masks and continuously wiping down and disinfecting areas to keep germs from spreading.
Peggy Anderson, the owner of Annie’s Cafe in Denver, a longtime brunch spot, decided not to open until this Thursday. She said that she needed an extra day to schedule staff and go over cleaning procedures with them.
“I have butterflies. And I have to admit I do get a little nervous that is still that element of concern for my employees and for my customers so I want to be wise enough that we don’t overdo it. And treat every with everybody with respect and respect for what’s still out there, the virus that is still out there,” Anderson said.
To be extra cautious Anderson is allowing fewer diners in her establishment than the recommending 50% outlined by the state health department. However, she has applied to extend her outdoor dining to parts of her parking lot to seat more patrons.
Anderson was optimistic but said it would also help if Congress would extend the Paycheck Protection Program and defer payments until restaurants like hers can have some time to get back on their feet.