DENVER — At the stroke of midnight, dance floors across Denver reopened to some very eager crowds.
"Last night definitely felt like pre-pandemic, which was odd," Kelela C., a drag queen and general manager of X BAR, said Sunday.
Video on social media showed shoulder-to-shoulder crowds, a sight not seen at the nightclub since the start of the pandemic.
"People are used to being on the floor, coming up to the bar, all those things. We didn't allow any of that during the time. We strictly did restaurant table service," Kelela said.
But thanks to Denver County's move to Level Clear on the state's COVID-19 dial, those restrictions are all gone. On Sunday, the bartenders were mask-free and so were the customers, if they chose to do so.
"It feels super great to see people happy and moving about, meeting new people, all those kinds of things, especially the people who are vaccinated and doing it safely," Kelela said.
For the bar's staff, it was an easy decision. If the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the state and Denver County said it was OK, why not?
"If they're saying it, then we trust that," Kelela said.
At Colorado Plus Cidery and Pub in Golden, the move to Level Clear is also happening but a bit more slowly.
The establishment is now at 100% capacity, which Level Yellow and Blue had prevented because both levels still required six-foot distancing between tables.
With the added tables, operations manager Lucas Furey still plans to keep them a bit distanced.
"We don't want to look too cramped for people," he said.
The masks are also staying on -- at least for now.
Furey is focused on being fully staffed. Applications for back-of-the-house jobs are barely trickling in.
"We would always have four or five by the end of the week. Now, we're kind of lucky to get one," he said.
Since it's just day one of Level Clear guidelines in many of the metro Denver counties, expect to see each business handle the transition differently.