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Denver offering restaurants financial aid to cover costs of outdoor expansions

A new assistance fund will help reimburse Denver restaurants that put money into creating expanded outdoor seating during the coronavirus pandemic.

DENVER — The City and County of Denver has announced a new assistance fund to provide grants to restaurant and bar owners for costs incurred from creating expanded outdoor seating areas as a way to stay open during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Denver will use $435,000 in funding, recently received from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act, to support local businesses who have spent money on expanding patios and outdoor dining areas to comply with COVID-19 public health requirements.

The city said the number of awards and grant amounts will be based on the number of applicants who apply and meet eligibility requirements.

> Above video: Denver will keep its outdoor dining program through at least October 2021

Requirements include submitting receipts dated between March 15, 2020 and Nov. 13, 2020 for costs incurred to create the temporary expansions.

  • Eligible costs for reimbursement: Purchase or lease of tables, chairs, protection against elements (sunscreen, windscreen, umbrellas), winterization, fencing, barricades, traffic control items.
  • Not eligible: Costs related to labor, insurance, lease of property to accommodate expansion, or other costs not outlined as accepted materials.

The city created Denver’s Temporary Outdoor Dining Program in May 2020 to allow restaurants and bars to operate in outdoor settings adjacent to their businesses to allow for greater physical distancing and safety measures for patrons.

According to the city, the 346 businesses already participating in the temporary outdoor expansion program will receive direct communication from the city about the newly-available funding.

The news comes as Denver moves to a more restrictive Safer At Home: Level 3 status Wednesday afternoon as COVID-19 cases continue to rise across the state. 

Safer At Home: Level 3 means reducing capacity at places like restaurants, churches, offices, personal services, offices and retail from 50% to 25%

Late last month, the city announced it will allow those businesses to continue to expand patios onto sidewalks and streets through at least Oct. 31, 2021.

To learn more about the program and application requirements, head to the city’s website.

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