DENVER — State health officials on Sunday released guideline s on how restaurants can reopen for on-premises indoor and outdoor dining after being closed for weeks due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
While curbside pickup and delivery is still highly encouraged, the health department said any establishment that can adhere to the guidelines and ensure access to food for on-premise consumption can open, but Gov. Jared Polis has not given a date as to when that can happen. The governor's office on Sunday said more details will be released on Monday.
>> Video above: Douglas County was among a few Colorado counties allowed to reopen restaurants early
Outdoor dine-in service is encouraged, the guidelines say. Restaurants need to obtain proper licensing and permits to expand patio seating. Specific requirements for outdoor dining can be found here.
Indoor dine-in service can be held at 50% of the posted occupancy code limit with a max of 50 customers if specific requirements can be met. These are some of the requirements (the full list can be found here):
- Patrons in different parties must be a minimum of 6 feet apart.
- The spacing of tables may need to be 6 feet or more to ensure proper physical distancing between diners from different parties.
- All employees must wear face coverings.
- Disinfecting and deep-cleaning of all shared surfaces between seatings.
- Implement hygiene sanitation stations
- Create single-use menus or allow customers to access digital menus on their personal mobile devices
- Implement social distancing in bathrooms by closing certain stalls
- Remove or close game rooms, dance floors and games such as pool or darts
- Ensure maximum ventilation by opening windows and minimizing air conditioning to the extent possible.
- Make efforts to reduce congregating inside and outside the establishment which could include encouraging reservations, and preferably requiring reservations, waiting parties must not congregate in entrance areas and should wait in their cars or off-premises until seating is available.
- No communal seating.
- No self-service stations or buffets.
- No seat-yourself options to ensure that a table has been disinfected prior to a new patron.
- Use contactless payment as much as possible
Restaurants must also implement a system to monitor possible symptoms for employees, among many other requirements in the guidelines to protect staff. One employee per shift should monitor staff and patrons to ensure safety protocols are being followed and face-coverings are required for employees as well as vendors, suppliers and contract workers.
If there is a confirmed case among employees or customers, the business must contact and cooperate with local health officials.
Colorado is currently working through its phased reopening plan. Other kinds of establishments that do not serve food will be evaluated in June, officials said.
Restaurants in Colorado have been closed for on-site dining since March, 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.
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.
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