Whitney Buttorff (right) and her sister-in-law Grace Buttorff eat margaritas at the Rioja outdoor table in Larimer Square on Wednesday May 27th. (Photo by Hyoung Chang, The Denver Post)

Wondering what to expect when you go out to eat out at a restaurant near Denver this week or next? The city and state have published guidelines and many restaurants are reopening with new protocols. In terms of health and safety, here are some things to keep in mind so that you can decide which companies to patronize right now.

1. Face coverings for employees and customers

Of course, employees must wear masks, but customers should wear masks even if they are not eating or drinking. For example, when they go to the bathroom or pick them up to take away.

2. Tables at least 6 feet apart

There should also be no mixing up between parties at different tables. Customers need to be seated at a table, not at the bar or idle in entrances and other public areas.

3. Groups of eight or fewer guests / drinkers

Eight people should sit together, max.

4th At no time more than half of the room capacity with a maximum of 50 people

Look for the building security inspection at the entrance to get an idea of ​​the typical fire protection capacity. Do a rough head count or trust your gut if the space seems too crowded.

5. Frequent hand washing, disinfection of surfaces

Check out the dining room, bathrooms, and kitchen. Are tablecloths changed between customers or are the plates cleaned? Have menus, soap dispensers, and other common items been made hands-free? Do cooks and waiters either wear gloves or clean their hands frequently?

And bonus points for:


Does your favorite place for a bite only have a reservation? It’s good. By not allowing walk-in guests, restaurants can better control their pedestrian traffic and ensure the safety of those who get a seat.

QR code menus

Do you remember QR codes from back then? You are in the time of the coronavirus and now serve as a practical way to call up a restaurant menu directly on your mobile phone. Many food companies are already implementing these in place of regular, one-way, or other menu formats for even less contact.

Signage guidelines

Before visiting, check the restaurant’s website and social media accounts for information on logs and security measures. And pay attention to clear verbal or written rules when you arrive. Setting expectations and establishing order are the keys to a restaurant’s success during this time.

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Conspicuous enforcement

If you see managers having difficult conversations with guests, answering questions about rules, and generally paying attention to everyone’s safety, it’s a good sign. In the future, the best customer service will be the one that carefully considers individual concerns while also considering the health and safety of employees and the public. And it is a great challenge for entrepreneurs and workers who are used to the phrase “the customer is always right”. Please do your part to ensure compliance.

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