When Mayor Michael Hancock announced on March 16 that Denver restaurants would have to close for dine-in service in order to help curb the spread of coronavirus, he initially said the order would be in effect through May 11. But in a press conference on Monday, Hancock said the restaurant shutdown — and related social distancing measures — will likely last longer.
That means businesses such as restaurants, where more than 10 people usually gather at a time, will either stay closed longer or else re-open with extreme distancing protocols in place. What that looks like will be announced in more detail in the coming days, Hancock confirmed.
“The order will be extended, you can bet on that,” he said in response to a reporter’s question about the current standing end date of the social distancing order and restaurant shutdown, which began March 17.
“I can tell you that many (restaurants) have already started talking and thinking about and putting in place protocols for opening,” Hancock said. “But you can bet that there will be some easing into this. We’re not just going to throw open the doors to restaurants and say, ‘Everybody come.’ ”
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Hancock also mentioned the possibility of “rolling” openings that would allow restaurants to gradually increase their capacities from 50% to eventually full capacity but acknowledged that a gradual roll-out could pose a financial challenge for some restaurants.
“Some (restaurant owners) may wait until it’s 80% or 90%,” he said, “because of the diminishing returns of their cost of opening.”
This is a developing story and will be updated as more information becomes available.
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