Restaurants Opening Back Up in Denver Today

May 28, 2020

The day has finally come where restaurants in Denver are allowed to open back up to the public. Many restaurants in Denver continued to operate with delivery and curbside pick up during the last 2 months, but now they can finally open their doors again and allow people to dine in their establishment. However, dining out won’t look quite the same as it did before the pandemic. The city has given restaurants a guide to re-opening that they will need to follow. Moving forward if there is a confirmed case of COVID-19 among customers or employees the restaurant must notify and cooperate with their local public health agency. Here is what the guidance looks like:

Indoor and outdoor on-premise dining

The intent of this guidance is to open establishments for the primary purpose of dine-in service, or what is colloquially referred to as “restaurants.” Any establishment that can adhere to the guidelines below and ensure access to food for on-premise consumption can open. The provision of food/meals must be from a licensed retail food establishment. Other kinds of establishments that do not serve food will be evaluated in June.

Food service space

  • Restaurants are encouraged to continue curbside pick-up/delivery, including alcohol pick- up/delivery.
  • Outdoor dine-in service is encouraged. Please work with local authorities to get authorization for expanding space to accommodate outdoor dine-in for adjacent or nonadjacent public or private spaces. The following requirements must be met:
    • 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 l distancing between diners from different parties.
    • All employees must wear face coverings.
    • Disinfecting and deep-cleaning of all shared surfaces between seatings.
  • Indoor dine-in service can be held at 50% of the posted occupancy code limit and a maximum of 50 patrons, if the following requirements can be met:
    • 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.
    • Ensure maximum ventilation by opening windows and minimizing air conditioning to the extent possible.
    • Deep clean and disinfect all shared surfaces between parties/at each turnover.
    • Keep parties together, and do not allow them to mingle with each other.
  • Limit party size to eight people or fewer.
  • Make efforts to reduce congregating inside and outside the establishment including:
    • Encouraging reservations, and preferably requiring reservations, if feasible.
    • 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.
    • Do not seat people in the bar if it is being used to prepare food or drink. If the bar area is not being used to prepare food or drink, parties could sit there under the same distancing requirements as a regular table.
    • Clearly mark floor and ground to delineate 6 -foot spacing for people in lines, and mark how foot traffic should move. Clearly mark closed tables not available for seating customers.
  • Post clear signs notifying patrons and employees of hygiene and sanitation expectations, including not entering if they or anyone in their household is experiencing any symptoms of illness.
  • Minimize objects touched by multiple patrons including:
    • Remove/close games and dance floors that require or encourage standing around (darts/pool tables/shuffleboard, arcade games); remove board games.
    • Discontinue use of tablecloths, or move to single-use, or remove and replace laundered tablecloths between patrons.
  • Disinfect any shared objects such as check presenters and POS machines thoroughly between uses.
  • Increase cleaning and disinfection protocols and track with publicly posted cleaning logs including:
    • Use disposable single-use menus, menu boards, or create online menus for guests to review from their electronic device.
    • Provide single-use or single-serving condiments.
    • Disinfect restrooms every hour.
    • Block off stalls and urinals with proper signage to support 6 feet between patrons. This may require reduced bathroom capacity or even only one person in a bathroom at a time.
  • Provide hand sanitizer at the check-in area and throughout the venue.
  • Implement symptom monitoring protocols (including workplace temperature monitoring and symptom screening questions) where possible and encourage sick employees to use the CDPHE Symptom Tracker.
  • Appoint one employee per shift to monitor staff and the public for adherence to safety measures.
  • Require employees to stay home and refer to the employer or state support when showing any symptoms or signs of sickness (information about emergency sick leave pay).
  • Provide guidance, training, and ongoing training on maintaining 6 foot distancing between employees to the greatest extent possible in all areas of operation.
  • Implement systems to minimize staff interactions, such as workflows, shift cohorting (same staff on each shift), staggering of shifts, shift changes, and breaks.
  • Require employees to wear face coverings while in the establishment.
  • Require facial coverings for vendors, suppliers, and contract workers entering the licensed establishment.
  • Require gloves or frequent handwashing. Encourage frequent breaks to wash hands (at least every 30 minutes) including upon arrival and departure.
  • Adhere strictly to the hygienic practices listed in the Colorado Retail Food Regulations including:
    • Not working when sick.
    • Frequent hand washing.
    • Changing gloves between tasks.
    • Using a fresh pair of gloves after each handwashing.
  • Consider modifying the menu to create additional space in the kitchen and promote physical distancing. Implement physical distancing where practicable.
  • All staff” meetings must follow physical distancing. Consider virtual meetings or meetings outside with appropriate distancing.
  • Require employees to take home all belongings, including water bottles, after every shift.
  • Provide high-quality face coverings for employees as much as possible.

To protect customers

  • Provide an option for customers to “sign-in” to facilitate notifying them if exposure occurs.
  • Provide contactless payment or prepayment options whenever possible.
  • Establish customer waiting areas, outdoors if possible, that maintain proper physical distancing from other guests.
  • Restrict standing and/or congregating in the bar area, entrance/exit, and any interior spaces.
  • Continue curbside pick up/delivery options and recommend them for vulnerable individuals.
  • Request customers to wear face coverings when not eating or drinking, e.g., walking past other tables to get to delivery areas or restrooms.
  • Consider refusing service to customers who refuse to adhere to hygiene and physical distancing requirements.
  • Make accommodations for individuals unable to adhere to masking and physical distancing requirements, such as takeout, curbside, or delivery.