A draft of proposals to reopen restaurants in Colorado was released Tuesday and a multitude of COVID-19 safety measures are on the table, including distancing guidelines, the use of masks by employees and patrons, and a ban on buffets and self-service stations.
The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment released draft proposed guidelines aimed at stakeholders and seeking feedback, according to a news release.
On May 25, Memorial Day, the state will decide if, and when, restaurants can begin reopening and what level of parameters they’ll face to safely operate. The draft proposal includes plans for pickup-only service, as well as indoor and outdoor on-premises dining. The guidelines include consideration of premises space, along with safety expectations for employees and customers.
Pickup-only guidelines include the continuance of take-out beer and cocktail sales. Clearly designated pickup waiting areas, marked with proper distancing, will also be continued. Marked space in check-out lines will comply to six-foot distancing.
Guideline proposals for reopening premises dining, both indoor and outdoor, which was shut down on March 16 to help stop the spread of COVID-19, include limited capacity to be determined “based on science,” according to the draft document. Requirements include 8 feet of spacing table to table with all employees wearing facial coverings and gloves. Party sizes could be limited to six or less. Bars that do not serve food could seat customers if distancing protocols are followed.
Employee guidelines include daily temperature checks and monitoring of coronavirus symptoms, according to the draft. Results will be logged and any symptomatic employees will be referred to the state health department’s “Symptom Tracker.”
All employees will wash their hands at the start and end of every shift. Frequents breaks, to wash hands, will take place, at least every 30 minutes.
Businesses should consider modifying menus “to create additional space in the kitchen and promote social distancing.” Under the proposal, all premises dining must stop serving no later than 10 p.m. All staff meetings will comply with social distancing.
Customers may be asked to wait outside until a properly social distanced table is available. Waiting or congregating in bars, entryways, exits — any interior areas — will be restricted and in compliance with social distancing, according to the draft.
Customers, when not eating or drinking, will wear masks as they enter or exit the premises or walk by tables or through the room.
Health officials said in the release that criteria being considered as part of the reopening decision making process includes:
- What level of suppression of the virus has been achieved?
- What is the ability to do testing and containment?
- Will this decision put vulnerable populations at significantly greater risk?
- Does the health care system have the capacity to handle a surge?
- Is the policy sustainable?
The draft proposal can be viewed, in its entirety, online here. Stakeholders, using an online form, can submit comments to the draft proposal through Friday, May 22.
Colorado continues to be under the “Safer at Home” phase of this pandemic and residents are urged to stay home as much as possible.
Other state decisions on May 25 about possible business and recreational reopenings, on future dates, include ski resorts and summer and residential day camps. Host counties will be part of the ski resort decision process. After June 1 the state will decide whether to modify Safer at Home guidelines.