Denver Mayor Michael Hancock announced this morning that city restaurants and bars will close for eight weeks, beginning Tuesday, March 17 at 8 a.m. and lasting through May 11. The announcement was made at a news conference detailing the latest on Denver’s COVID-19 response. These drastic measures are being implemented to mitigate the spread of the novel coronavirus.

“These are steps we must take to reduce people’s exposure to this virus,” Hancock says.

Restaurants will still be open for delivery, drive-thru, and carryout, but will be closed to on-site dining for eight weeks. Hancock says the takeout and delivery options will still be available, both to keep hospitality industry staff working and to combat food insecurity. 

If the COVID-19 situation improves before those eight weeks are up, Hancock did offer a sliver of hope to Denver diners and industry employees by saying that notices to open could be given beforehand. The city will continue to evaluate the situation, but for now the eight-week ban begins tomorrow morning. Hancock said city inspectors will be out ensuring bars and restaurants are complying with the closures.

“None of these decisions have been easy to make, I can promise you that,” Hancock says. 

Hancock also announced that the city will follow new CDC guidelines prohibiting gatherings of 50 or more people. He clarified that these new restrictions on 50-plus gatherings do not include grocery stores, but also encouraged residents not to panic buy. 

If you do decide to go out for one last meal tonight, Hancock emphasized practicing good hygiene, which means washing your hands and keeping your distance.

Local restaurants are quickly adapting their practices and service models to accommodate take out and delivery. Call your favorite spot directly to find out what they’re offering or, to follow local small businesses and track which restaurants are cooking during this crisis, look to Sage Restaurant Concept’s and the hashtag #ColoradoCurbside on Instagram.

Allyson Reedy
Allyson Reedy
Allyson Reedy is a freelance writer and ice cream fanatic living in Broomfield.