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Denver's expanded outdoor dining program will be extended through fall of 2021

Posted at 9:14 AM, Sep 29, 2020
and last updated 2021-01-05 19:40:55-05

DENVER — Denver's outdoor dining program, which allows restaurants and bars to expand outdoors, has been extended through at least October 2021.

The city announced extensions for the program which will continue through the winter months, on Tuesday morning.

The city said that businesses that have expanded into the public right-of-way will be able to request 90-day extensions and those not in the public right-of-way could ask for 120-day extensions past Oct. 31 of this year and for further extensions through next October if they are approved initially.

The Denver Department of Transportation will review the requests and closures associated with each. Neighborhoods where the requests are being made will be able to request public hearings if there are complaints regarding noise or similar issues, the city said.

"We will work with restaurants and bars on creative models that allow them to extend this program through the cold weather months, while maintaining the strenuous protections in place to prevent COVID-19 transmission,” Mayor Michael Hancock said in a news release.

Last week, the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment released guidance Thursday afternoon for restaurants and event spaces to see what will constitute indoor and outdoor spaces as colder weather approaches and outdoor dining and events become more difficult to host.

The guidance for what will be allowed will be based on a local community’s level on the state’s dial system that determines which level of COVID-19 response said community is at.

It classifies various types of structures as indoor or outdoor based on the type of walls it has and where they are located, which determines how well-ventilated the area is.

Depending on what type of temporary structure a business is using, they would be able to have different capacities indoors. All levels except for Stay at Home on the state’s dial response framework will be allowed to have unlimited outdoor capacity in accordance with local zoning measures if parties can remain 6 feet apart.

For communities in the Protect Our Neighbors phase, up to 500 people or 50% capacity would be allowed in indoor settings. That decreases to up to 175 people or 50% capacity for Safer at Home Level 1; to 50 people or 50% capacity for communities in Safer at Home Level 2; and up to 50 people or 25% capacity for Safer at Home Level 3.

Take-out and delivery would be the only options for any communities forced to move back to the Stay at Home phase.