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Eat and Drink

What the Mayor’s Latest Order Means for Restaurants and Bars

As of Sunday, November 8, in-person dining and liquor sales are prohibited after 10 p.m.

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In the latest effort to control a significant increase in COVID-19 cases in Denver, the city is asking non-critical businesses—including restaurants, bars, and liquor stores—to end in-person dining and liquor sales at 10 p.m. What does that mean exactly? Well, if you dine at a restaurant, you have to be done with your meal and leave by 10 p.m. Curbside pick up and delivery of food may continue past that hour, and bars that serve food may remain open for dine-in service—at tables only, no bar seating—until 10 p.m.; bars that don’t must close for on-premise service until the end of the the Home By 10 public health order, which goes into effect on Sunday, November 8 and will last until Monday, December 7.

Mayor Hancock delivered the news at a press conference on Friday, urging Denverites to be home between 10 p.m. and 5 a.m. and to avoid gatherings with individuals outside of their own households, which is contributing to rising coronavirus case numbers. “Our restaurants and businesses have gone above and beyond putting the necessary health and safety measures in place to slow the spread of the virus. For the most part, regulated spaces are not the problem. It’s people getting together in social settings in unregulated spaces,” he said.

Nearly two-year-old Blake Street bar and restaurant Brass Tacks was already closing at 10 p.m., in response to the restrictions following Denver’s move back to the Safer at Home Level 3 Stage on October 28. But Stephen Julia, co-owner of Brass Tacks, Roger’s Liquid Oasis, and Curio Bar inside Denver Central Market, thinks the public health order will still hurt his businesses.

“If they’re telling everyone to stay home but we’re expected to stay open, that just means my employees won’t be making any money and we’re just prolonging the inevitable shutdown. We understand it’s a fine line, but at this point, I’d rather just shut down for three weeks and get the numbers down so we can start doing business again,” Julia says. 

Like bars and restaurants, many breweries were already closing at 10 p.m.—and were already required to serve food to remain open for dine-in service—so the new restrictions don’t impact them as much, according to Shawnee Adelson, executive director of the Colorado Brewers Guild, a nonprofit dedicated to promoting and supporting local independent craft breweries.

“When Denver moved to Level 3 last week, it changed last call to 10 p.m. Today’s order is more restrictive but will not severely impact the operating hours of breweries. Since May, the state guidelines have required breweries to offer food from a retail food establishment and those that are open have been able to fully comply with this requirement,” Adelson says. 

If infections and hospitalizations continue to rise, Hancock said another stay-at-home order is likely. His announcement follows Gov. Jared Polis’ press conference on November 5, encouraging Coloradans to take action as coronavirus case numbers reach grim milestones. In his words: “This is an intervention, cancel your social plans the next few weeks, avoid interacting with others, wear a mask, keep your distance, let’s get through this.”

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