By Jacqueline Quynh

DENVER (CBS4) – It will still take longer until hanging out at the bar gets back to normal, but for now, bars in Colorado can open at 25% capacity or up to 50 people indoors. It’s a welcomed change that establishments operating exclusively as bars have desperately been waiting to see.

(credit: CBS)

Most closed down in March following state public health orders. On Friday, Denver Sweet, a LGBTQ-friendly bar reopened in Capitol Hill.

“We had a great night last night, 4 o’clock we had a lot of people in here,” Randy Minten, co-owner said.

Even though physical distancing requirements at Denver Sweet has kept the number of customers far below capacity, the change is huge.

“It’s been horrible. We had to furlough everybody because we weren’t able to open,” Minten said.

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Making things harder, the bar closed down when it was just near its first anniversary in March.  It caused stress from the top down.

“Unemployment for sure, making money for rent, this uncertainty of how we’re going to pay bills,” Draven Gonzalez, manager said.

Management had the option to open up its kitchen and resume business as a restaurant earlier at the end of May, but they wanted to wait. Now with new guidelines, staff screen for fevers, assign seating and take drink orders.

“A lot of people still worried about COVID as they should be, and we don’t want upset anybody because we’re opening,” Gonzalez said.

Patrons CBS4 met on Saturday appreciated the extra steps.

“I think it’s great, it’s great to be back,” Phil Patterson, a customer said.

(credit: CBS)

Other establishments that operate primarily as a bar also told us, opening up at 25% capacity is a start, however, some places are relatively small, and they anxiously await until orders allow closer to 100% capacity operations.

Jacqueline Quynh

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