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Here's what the new public health order says about restaurants, day camps reopening

Counties across the Denver metro area said they will follow the state's guidelines on when and how to resume limited in-person dining at restaurants.

DENVER — Several Denver metro area counties said Monday afternoon that they would follow the state's guidelines on reopening restaurants for limited in-person dining on Wednesday.

The City and County of Denver, the Tri-County Health Department and Jefferson County Public Health all said they would follow the decision announced by Gov. Jared Polis earlier on Monday.

Denver released a statement that it was "working quickly to process the 375 applications we have received in the past few days to expand outdoor patio seating."

"It’s an amazing feeling that we can actually have people dine-in, hang out. I’m the hostess with 'most-ess,' " said Molly Velez, owner of The Chicken Shack restaurant. "I want people to hang out. I want them to be here be comfortable to enjoy, and now we can have that again."

Other restaurants are choosing not to reopen right away.

The governor's office also said in a news release that as of Monday, private campsites are open. June 1 is when children's day camps and youth sports camps may resume with restrictions, while overnight camps will remain closed in June.

Polis also issued an executive order to extend the statewide safer-at-home order for another eight days to June 1.

"We are still a long way from returning to normal, but these updates are a step in the right direction because Coloradans are doing a good job so far limiting our social interactions," Polis said in a statement.

9NEWS asked about gyms, pools and youth sports leagues, none of which were addressed in the guidelines released Monday.

A spokesperson for the governor's office said gyms and pools remain closed and that there are no updates on when youth sports could resume.

Restaurants & bars

Beginning Wednesday, restaurants can open for in-person dining at 50% capacity inside the restaurant, but cannot exceed 50 people, whichever is less. Restaurants are encouraged to provide as much outdoor dining as possible.

Other restrictions include:

  • Tables or groups must be limited to no more than eight people and spaced so that patrons in different parties are at least six feet apart.
  • All employees must wear face coverings.
  • Windows should be open and air-conditioning minimized to ensure ventilation.
  • All shared surfaces must be deep cleaned and disinfected between the seating of parties.
  • Parties must stay seated together and aren't allowed to mingle with other parties.

> Read the full list of safety guidelines for restaurants, summer camps and private camps here.

> Read the executive order extending the statewide safer-at-home order through June 1 here.

Food trucks are allowed to continue operating because they have a license to serve food; however, bars and other establishments that don't serve food will remain closed and be re-evaluated next month, according to the release.

Breweries and similar establishments can change their business model and operate like a restaurant, the guidelines say. They could even partner with neighboring restaurants or food trucks to provide food, but light snacks or food prepared elsewhere don't count.

Polis' announcement follows restaurant guidelines released Sunday by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE). The full list of CDPHE guidelines can be found here.

Some counties, including Douglas, Larimer and El Paso, received approval from CDPHE over the weekend to immediately begin reopening restaurants and other businesses and services in a limited capacity.

Restaurants in Colorado have been closed for on-premise dining since March, and many have closed down permanently as a result. Takeout and delivery options have been available under the state's stay-at-home and safer-at-home orders.


The governor's announcement said the camps that can open June 1 include mobile, youth sports camps and outdoor camps, and they must operate with restrictions.

Those restrictions include:

  • A limit of 25 campers per group at outdoor camps, and 10 campers per group at indoor camps.
  • Campers must remain in their group and not mix with other groups.
  • Campers must be spaced six feet apart to the greatest extent possible.
  • Campers and staff must be screened for symptoms, and there must be an isolated space available for anyone found ill. Anyone with symptoms consistent with COVID-19 must be sent home.

Decisions on overnight camps for July and August will be made in mid-June.

"Colorado kids will be able to enjoy day camps and youth sports camps this summer in as safe a manner as possible," Polis said in a statement. "The risk, though less, is still very real, and it's up to families to make the best decisions that work for them."

RELATED: Colorado coronavirus latest, May 25

RELATED: Here's how restaurants in Colorado can open for on-premise dining


Private campsites may reopen effective Monday, Polis said.

If a host county would like to keep campsites closed, Polis said county commissioners should consult with their local public health agency, and then notify the Colorado Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and CDPHE in writing.

Gyms, pools and youth sports

Gyms and pools will remain closed, a spokesperson for Polis said via email. There are no current updates on youth sports. 

"We will have more details in June in the coming days," the spokesperson said.


Any residents who want to report a violation of these or other public health orders can contact their local public health agency.

The guidelines released Monday offered a reminder that state law requires compliance with public health orders, and as such, law enforcement agencies can enforce the orders.

Polis has created an advisory board to support enforcement efforts across jurisdictions, according to the governor's office. The advisory board helps local governments and public health departments coordinate with the state on educating residents to best ensure compliance with the orders.

RELATED: Douglas County gets go-ahead to reopen restaurants, gyms, churches, Park Meadows

RELATED: Larimer County can reopen restaurants, churches and malls, but not bars

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