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How Colorado could allow restaurants to reopen for dine-in service

The guidelines were released to generate feedback from restaurants and customers.

DENVER — The state of Colorado released a draft Tuesday evening of its proposed guidelines to allow restaurants to restart dine-in service, as part of an effort to solicit feedback from the businesses and customers involved.

Restaurants in Colorado have been closed for on-site dining since March due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and numerous prominent local businesses have shuttered as a result. Takeout and delivery have been allowed under the state's stay-at-home order, and the governor's office has allowed for the sale of to-go alcohol to help bolster revenue. 

Gov. Jared Polis (D-Colorado) has previously said he expects to decide whether restaurants can reopen for in-person service by May 25 based on data regarding COVID-19 infections and hospitalizations in Colorado. 

Here’s a look at some of the proposals for allowing restaurants to reopen:

Spacing

According to the guidelines, restaurants can have outdoor seating as long as there is eight feet of space between tables. Indoor dining areas can also reopen with eight feet of space. Polis said he is hopeful restaurants will be able to expand their outdoor seating areas into parking lots and even public streets when possible. The guidelines do not mention what capacity restaurants will be able to reopen at. 

Party size

Party size would be limited to six people or less.

Seating

Patrons would not be able to seat themselves, and bar areas will not be able to reopen unless there are eight feet between parties.

Communal spaces

Restaurants are asked to take reservations whenever possible and to prevent people from congregating in common areas while waiting to be seated. The guidelines also eliminate shared games like shuffleboard or board games.

Cleaning

All employees would be required to wear gloves and face coverings, and tables would be sanitized after each customer.

Menus

The guidelines require restaurants use disposable single-use menus, menu boards, or online menus instead of ones guests reuse.

Restrooms

Restaurants are required to sanitize their restrooms every 30 minutes, and to block off stalls or urinals to ensure there is six feet of distance between patrons. The guidelines say this may require reduced bathroom capacity or even limiting them to one person at a time.

The guidelines also ask that employees at restaurants attempt to wash their hands every 30 minutes, and stay at home if they are feeling sick.  Restaurants are also asked to conduct daily temperature checks on their employees and give customers a “sign-in” option so they can learn about potential exposure.

Both restaurants and customers are encouraged to use a contactless method of payment whenever possible, according to the guidelines.

Feedback can be submitted by clicking or tapping here until Friday. 

Read the full list of guidelines here.

Polis said he will also decide whether ski areas and summer camps can reopen on May 25, and what that will look like. 

After June 1, the governor's office said it will decide if the safer-at-home order can be modified to allow summer activities and spaces like libraries to reopen. 

This has continually been at the guidance of health officials. 

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