Increased outdoor dining expected when restaurants reopen

Published: May. 19, 2020 at 6:48 AM MDT
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Gov. Jared Polis remains hopeful that in-person dining can resume statewide by the end of the month.

As with many other facets of normal life, it may look different than it did pre-pandemic.

With warm weather settling in for the next few months, one idea the governor is encouraging is outdoor dining.

"That’s really the only way with the spacing that we’re going to have a thriving restaurant environment," Polis acknowledged Monday during one of his weekly news conferences.

Dining under the soft glow of a parking lot light? Under Polis' proposed plan -- a draft for which is expected Tuesday -- this is what date night could look like.

"The way that restaurants can get to 100 percent capacity, even 150 percent, is by spreading out in their parking lot, their streets, the sidewalks," Polis said, promising that the state would waive "every rule and regulation we can" to make this happen.

"Like serving beer and wine on streets, anything else that gets in the way of restaurants doing that."

A firm reopening date has not been decided on. El Paso County is seeking a variance to allow restaurants and bars to reopen ahead of the state,

Once the draft for the state guidelines is released Tuesday, Polis said the state will take two to three days of public feedback before finalizing the guidelines. The reopening date is expected to be announced on Memorial Day.

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