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Restaurants unable to add tables despite change allowing full capacity

Spacing and staffing issues continue to be a concern in Summit County restaurants.

SUMMIT COUNTY, Colo. — Summit County restaurants operating under the 5 Star State Certification Program were given the green light to open at full capacity Wednesday, March 24. As expected, this hasn’t allowed for much of a change for local restaurants.

At the county’s virtual town hall last Wednesday, Summit County Environmental Health Manager Dan Hendershott acknowledged that the change likely wouldn’t mean much for many local businesses.

“We know that this is a more limiting factor in most of our restaurant facilities … because they were struggling to get to 50% capacity even with spacing tables and patrons 6 feet (apart),” Hendershott said.

Blue River Bistro owner Jay Beckerman said that as a small restaurant, the bistro hasn’t seen a change in capacity since moving to level orange.

“We’re kind of stuck at 35% until that 6-foot distancing is lifted, and that’s when we’ll start seeing gains,” Beckerman said. “So we’re really, really happy to see things progressing along the dial because that gets us closer to seeing that distancing either reduced or eliminated, but until it is, we don’t really see any advantage yet.”

Beckerman said that while the change doesn’t affect him, if it can benefit other establishments, it will help the restaurant group as a whole given difficulties guests have had finding available tables during their vacations.

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