What Denver’s curfew means for restaurants, bars and liquor sales

For the next 30 days starting Sunday, Denver residents should plan to buy alcohol and wrap up dinner reservations on any given night by 10 p.m.

In an effort to avoid another stay-at-home order, city officials on Friday announced a “Home by 10” order that will attempt to limit gatherings and late-night drinking by closing non-essential businesses at 10 p.m. nightly.

These new Denver restrictions come as COVID-19 hospitalizations across Colorado surpass the previous, April peak, and one in every 100 Denverites is now contagious with the disease, according to the state.

The only day between Nov. 8 and Dec. 7 that Denver’s curfew will not apply is on Thanksgiving, officials said.

“Home by 10” follows an order enacted at the end of October that limits restaurant seating capacity in Denver County from 50 to 25% — with a maximum of 50 diners indoors — and moves last call from 11 to 10 p.m.

In that respect, there will be no further change to alcohol sales and consumption at restaurants after this week. But starting Sunday, liquor stores and grocers will have to stop selling alcohol by 10 p.m. as well.

Restaurants will still be allowed to sell food for takeout and delivery after 10 p.m. And any bars that aren’t able to “meet basic criteria around mingling and food service” will be forced to close for the duration of the 30-day order, Denver Mayor Michael Hancock said.

Hancock reiterated at Friday’s press conference that new order does not discourage Denverites from going out to eat or drink, nor does it prevent anyone from patronizing businesses responsibly up until 10 p.m.

“We’re encouraging and urging folks … to plan accordingly and make sure that when you are going out that you are with your family unit,” Hancock said.

Under the new order, diners must limit their party size to six — down from 10 — people from no more than two households.

“I would encourage everyone to focus on everything that we can still do that we wouldn’t be able to do in a stay-at-home order,” Bob McDonald, executive director of the Denver Dept. of Public Health and Environment, added. “There are so many things that we can still do, we just need to do them safely.”