As Denver prepares to vacate its home stay order on Friday, some key businesses remain closed with no set reopening date. These include stadiums, fitness centers, cinemas, bars and restaurants.
Speaking to a reporter at a news conference on Tuesday, Denver Mayor Michael Hancock said, “There is no restaurant and bar opening schedule at this point.”
Social distancing guidelines and restrictions on gatherings of 10 or more people still apply across the state through May 26. Hancock said he will follow the lead of Colorado Governor Jared Polis in what will be a “slow roll-in” of store openings in the next month or more.
“We are reaching out to many industry professionals for guidance,” added Hancock to his and Polis’ decision-making.
Some Colorado restaurant owners have expressed their uncertainty over the past few weeks about their doors reopening at half capacity or even in May. Those who hesitate to reopen cite worker health and safety as their top concern, even when faced with declining revenues.
“We felt like we had to take care of our team first and foremost rather than continuing service,” Denver restaurateur Paul Reilly told the Denver Post last week. “We think it is in the best interests of our team and our guests to stay closed until we get better answers from our elected officials on what the new hospitality will be like.”
Whether or not this signals new hospitality, some restaurant owners and chefs are stepping out of the takeaway and delivery models. For example, to raise money for their employees, the owners of Work & Class and Super Mega Bien, Tony Maciag and Dana Rodriguez, wash cars and cook at customers’ homes.
(Rodriguez was nominated Monday for the James Beard Foundation’s award for best mountain cook. Hiring her to cook in a private residence is now like an Oscar-nominated celebrity for a home theater.)
“It taught us a great lesson in how to adapt to the challenges we face in life, especially in this industry,” Rodriguez told the Denver Post prior to the nomination when they dealt with vandalism in their only shuttered restaurant occupied while she worked longer hours on each other. “I try to be positive, and hopefully that will keep us alive.”
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