Colorado Gov. Jared Polis on Friday joined a growing number of states allowing restaurants to serve alcohol alongside food for takeout or delivery during the eight-week coronavirus shutdown.
For the next 30 days, he’s allowing bars, restaurants, brewpubs and distillery pubs to sell alcohol in sealed containers and with food purchased.
“I’m proud that we’re taking additional steps today to allow restaurants that are maintaining delivery and takeout to also make alcohol sales alongside food sales,” Polis said. “This will help them continue to stay afloat during these trying times.”
On Monday, Polis ordered all Colorado restaurants and bars to close dine-in operations for 30 days. He extended the closure timeline on Thursday to eight weeks, as Mayor Michael Hancock had already called for in Denver.
Denver bars responded quickly to the news on Friday. Many of them have been closed altogether since Tuesday’s shutdown, unable to sell their main offering via takeout or delivery.
At the downtown Dairy Block’s underground cocktail bar, Run for the Roses, owner Steven Waters immediately posted a delivery menu on his business’ site to start selling bottled cocktails for the weekend.
All proceeds from the sales of large-batch (750 ml) mixed drinks would go toward paying his staff during the shutdown, Waters said. Customers could order their choice of manhattans, palomas, daiquiris and more house drinks alongside deviled eggs or breakfast sandwiches.
On 6th Avenue, the upscale Italian restaurant Barolo Grill rushed to make its extensive wine list available by the bottle, along with beer and cocktails. More restaurant and bar owners promoted everything from takeout wine by the bottle to beer, sake and mixed drinks on their social media accounts.
Only breweries or distillery pubs “may not provide mixed drinks,” according to the Colorado Liquor Enforcement Division’s updated guidelines. Other states such as Texas, New York and California preceded Colorado in allowing establishments with full liquor licenses to sell beer, wine and mixed drinks along with food in their to-go orders.
Colorado attorney Michael Laszlo, who specializes in liquor, business and commercial law, says that alcohol takeout and delivery will just give more businesses more of a fighting chance during the eight-week shutdown.
“I’m talking to restaurant (clients) every couple of hours that are saying, I’m not going to make it,” he told The Denver Post. “Do I think dire circumstances call for dire solutions? Yes, I do. If I’m a restaurant owner, I’m just doing anything I can to stay afloat.
His best advice for restaurant and bar owners as they navigate these uncharted waters?
“Put a cap on it, put it in the trunk… Act responsibly and do everything you can to ensure everybody’s safety,” he said. “Unprecedented times call for unprecedented solutions.”
This is a developing story and will be updated as we receive more information.
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