Gov. Jared Polis issued draft restaurant reopening guidelines Tuesday that, although still developing while the state gathers feedback, provide insight into what the new normal might look like when eating out.
Indoor and outdoor dine-in service would be allowed with limited capacity — for how many people is still being decided “based on the science” — as long as a minimum of 8 feet is maintained between tables, according to the draft guidelines.
Groups at a table would be limited to six people or fewer, and dining spaces inside and out, would have to stop service by 10 p.m.
Bars would remain closed under the draft.
Since stay-at-home orders were put in place two months ago to help curb the spread of the coronavirus, the restaurant industry in the state lost an estimated $975 million in April, according to a recent survey by the Colorado Restaurant Association. Nearly a quarter of restaurant owners said they anticipate permanently closing their doors by the end of May, the survey found.
The state’s draft guidelines encourage a sign-in option for customers so that they could be notified if an exposure occurs at the restaurant. The state also is advising the use of a reservation system to aid in contact tracing if needed.
Face masks and gloves would be required for employees when interacting with customers and handling food. Employees also would be required to have their temperature checked daily, and to stay home when showing symptoms of COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus.
The draft guidelines call for restaurant staff to request face coverings be worn by customers when not eating or drinking, such as when walking past other tables. The state is encouraging restaurants to refuse service to customers who aren’t willing to comply.
If a case of coronavirus is confirmed among customers or employees, restaurant management would be required to notify and work with their local public health agency on next steps, according to the proposed guidelines.
No communal seating would be allowed. Self-service stations or buffets also would be prohibited. There would no longer be bar seating, games, dance floors, standing room, or shared items, such as tablecloths.
Restaurants also would be encouraged to provide contactless payment options, as well as provide single-use menus, menu boards, or online menus that can be accessed by customers on a mobile device. Hand sanitizer should also be provided at the host desk and throughout the restaurant, the draft guidelines state.
A reopening date for the state’s restaurants hasn’t been set, but the governor has said his goal is to reopen Colorado restaurants by Memorial Day, which is Monday.