Starting Friday, Denver and other, yet-to-be-identified counties will tighten their coronavirus restrictions, including prohibiting indoor dining at restaurants.
The new Level Red restrictions follow an updated statewide COVID-19 dial. They fall one step short of a full shutdown, which is now Level Purple.
According to Colorado Gov. Jared Polis and Denver Mayor Michael Hancock, one of the main reasons for creating this new level is to help preserve the state and local economies as much as possible in the absence of further federal aid.
For now, under Level Red, Denver and other qualifying counties’ restaurants will be able to continue serving food for takeout and delivery, as well as on their outside patios. Diners who choose to eat on restaurant patios should do so only with members of their household. Last call for alcohol will move from 10 p.m. to 8 p.m.
Previously, restaurants were allowed to serve customers indoors, but at 25% of their normal capacity. Bars that don’t serve food will continue to be closed to customers.
“Restaurants are important,” Polis reiterated at the Tuesday press conference. “(They are) mainstays of our downtowns and of our city streets. … When we return to normal, when the pandemic ends, we want those vibrant destinations there.”
If Denver and other counties move to Level Purple restrictions, outdoor dining will no longer be allowed at restaurants, according to the new guidelines. Polis says he believes the Level Red restrictions will be effective in flattening the current coronavirus spike.
Of the newly created highest Level Purple, Hancock said, “We expect to be there.”
This is a developing story and will be updated.