COVID Clarification from the CRA

Good news about pinball. Plexiglass? Not so much.

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Dmytro Sidelnikov © 123RF.com

The Colorado Restaurant Association has rounded up answers to some commonly asked questions about bar seating, dividers between tables and booths, and whether or not you can turn on that arcade game that’s been gathering dust since March. Take a look at its clarification of the often-confusing COVID-related regs, as well as a new order allowing tables of up to 10 diners (up from eight). DiningOut has also included the CRA’s plug for political advocacy, because…well, we need all the help we can get.

Please note: Information provided by the CRA is up-to-date when they send it, but just as this situation is rapidly evolving, so are the rules and legislation they cover. You can always see the most recent information on the Coronavirus Resource Center and it Covid-19 Reopening Resources page on the CRA’s website.

New Public Health Order Allows Tables of 10

The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment released a new public health order. This new order outlines the different “levels” of Safer at Home and provides the guidance for each level. One of the big changes in this PHO from the previous is that regardless of what “level” of capacity and opening a county is at, table sizes can now be 10 people or fewer, up from eight or fewer. When it comes to the different “levels”, restaurant capacities vary. Here is an outline of capacities at the different “levels”:

  • Level 1: 50 percent of occupancy up to 175 people per room.
  • Level 2: 50 percent of occupancy up to 50 people per room. Large venues can use the “social distancing calculator” to get up to 100 people per room.
  • Level 3 – 25% of occupancy up to 50 people per room. 

The level is determined by each individual county based off a metrics related to the spread of COVID-19 in the county. You can see what level your county is at here. Read the public health order here.

Clarification: Plexiglass Not Allowed to Replace Six Feet of Social Distancing

The CRA has received several questions about whether or not Plexiglass can be used between booths and tables. According to the most recent public health order and the state health department, restaurants are not allowed to use Plexiglass barriers or partitions as a replacement for six feet of social distancing. Nothing prohibits a restaurant from installing Plexiglass or partitions if they want to, but they will still need to enforce at least six feet of social distancing between parties. Typically, this means that restaurants will have to seat every other booth (if they are back to back) and/or move tables around to accommodate at least six feet of distance between groups.

Clarification: Arcade Games Allowed With Proper Sanitary Measures

The CRA has received clarification that arcade games are permitted at both indoor and outdoor events with the following restrictions:

  • Indoor arcades may open up to 50 percent capacity or a maximum of 50 people per room, whichever is fewer.  
    • Extra large venues that would like more than 50 patrons may use the calculator for indoor events to determine how many additional patrons they can accommodate indoors, up to 100 patrons total per room, which is the indoor variance limit for “medium” viral transmission.
  • Arcades with food service should follow restaurant guidance for designated dining areas. 
    • Dining areas and activities should be separated from gaming areas as much as possible. 
  • Disinfect high-touch areas and equipment such as: gaming machines and equipment, microphones, instruments, props, etc. between uses. 
  • Limit gaming group size to no more than four people and maintain at least six feet distancing between groups.
  • Lower or turn off volume on games to reduce the need to speak loudly as forced exhalation increases the risk of transmission.

Read the full guidance here (scroll down to the arcade guidance in the FAQ section). 

Clarification: How to Seat People at the Bar

The CRA’s received a number of questions about how guests can be seated at the bar. Guests are allowed to sit at the bar as long as they are sitting at least six feet away from individuals outside of their party and any drink service station. Drink service stations are things like service wells, beer taps on the bar, and any drink garnishes that are available at the bar. You will also want to ensure that individuals at the bar are sitting at least six feet away from individuals seated at tables behind them, and from other groups that are at the bar.

Help Our Federal Advocacy Efforts: Tell Congress to Act Now to Help the Restaurant Industry

According to the latest National Restaurant Association industry data, restaurants report declining business conditions for August by an over two to one margin. Over 100,000 restaurants have already closed, and 40 percent of operators said they would be forced out of business in the next six months if there is not additional federal aid. 

Congress is struggling to pass a recovery bill before leaving Washington for the elections, and it’s possible our legislators won’t consider an alternative until January. 

We need Congress to take short-term action now – targeting the proposals that already have extensive bipartisan support. The restaurant industry needs help now more than ever—and what we need to help restaurants and employees is simple:  

  • Authorize an additional round of Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) funding
  • Ensure restaurants can deduct business expenses paid with PPP loans
  • Provide a tax credit for investments that enhance the safety of customers and employee
  • Expand the Employee Retention Tax Credit

Congress is scheduled to leave Washington at the end of the month—they need to hear from you now! 

Make sure to copy the campaign link https://p2a.co/saverestaurants and share it via email and on social media so your friends and colleagues can amplify your message.

Don’t know who your federal elected officials are? Visit DiningOuts post on how to locate and contact your senators and representatives.

What do you think about allowing 10-tops and arcade games? Talk to us! Email your experiences (and thoughts, opinions, and questions—anything, really) to askus@diningout.com

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