DENVER – Pedestrian traffic in downtown Denver is steadily increasing, and city officials hope a new campaign aimed at getting people back to the office will aid the city’s recovery.
Officials from the Downtown Denver Partnership and Denver Mayor Michael Hancock stood outside Union Station as they launched the Ready Denver Initiative. Mayor Hancock said returning downtown will be a shot in the arm for businesses still struggling.
“This is an entire ecosystem that we want to maintain here, and it’s very important that we get people back to downtown Denver,” said Hancock.
The Downtown Denver Partnership works with more than 135 companies who have committed to getting their employees back to the office by May 10th. At the same time, security is still in the foreground and COVID-19 test centers are being set up throughout the city center.
COVIDCheck Colorado set up two tents in front of Union Station to make testing easily accessible. Walk-in vaccine appointments are still available at the city-operated locations.
“Downtown Denver is the commercial hub of Rocky Mountain West and one of the most innovative and resilient city centers in the country,” said Tami Door, president and CEO of the Downtown Denver Partnership.
Small businesses turning to the office crowd look forward to customers returning again. The Corner Bakery Cafe owner says business has declined 80% over the past year, compared to 60% today, so things are headed in the right direction.
“Well, it means everything and people are so excited to come back when you see them and customers we haven’t seen in a year and just catch up with everyone,” said Jayme Cutter, owner of the Corner Bakery Cafe.
The shortage of office workers in the downtown area has deterred the owner of a Denver food truck called Taste Bud Bullies from settling in the area. He said he was losing money during lunchtime and was forced to change locations.
“Downtown has a great, great crowd. I just want the crowd to come to us. We keep going to them, but there’s no one around, so it would be great to be downtown,” Jarmal said Smith, owner of Taste Bud Mobber.