Diners can eat on Denver’s new restaurants patios through Halloween

A waiter talks to patrons he is serving in the outdoor seating area of Corridor 44 in Larimer Square in downtown Denver on Friday, June 19, 2020. (Rachel Ellis, The Denver Post)

You’d be forgiven if you hadn’t stopped yet this summer to think about Halloween. But the holiday could look a little different this year.

Officially, it will be the last night that Denver restaurants and bars can operate their expanded outdoor patios for the season. That means businesses that have temporarily taken their operations outdoors will have more than a month of extended patio life, weather permitting.

Previously, restaurants would have had to pack up their new patio areas by Sept. 7. But response from the community and business owners led to an extension of the trial summer program, according to the city.

“It’s important that restaurants and bars know we will continue to support their recovery with this program as long as it does not negatively impact Denver’s efforts to stifle transmission of the virus,” Denver Excise and Licenses executive director Ashley Kilroy said in a release.

The city is loosening other restrictions along with its extended outdoor dining season, too, allowing restaurants and bars to play music outside. But not just any music: “recorded ambient or background music and television (that) does not disturb the neighborhood,” the city’s release said.

Denver has certainly picked up the pace on its permitting following complaints at the start of the summer from some restaurateurs who said they were a month into the process and still awaiting city approval on patio expansions that could make or break their business.

As of Thursday, 273 expanded patios had been approved (89% of completed applications, according to Excise and Licenses), with outdoor seating areas ranging from parking lots to alleyways.

Two communal outdoor dining patios, where multiple restaurants can serve in a common seating area, had also been approved. Denver Pavilions was the first, and downtown’s Dairy Block complex is the latest, as of Thursday.

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