CRA: More Masks, Free Money, Ominous Warnings from Denver

Close up image of a man's hands holding a stack of $100 bills.
Need to make cents of the new PPP loans? / Julia Sudnitskaya ©

If you were waiting for good news when it came to COVID restrictions this week…well, we hope you weren’t holding your breath. Governor Jared Polis’ press conference on Tuesday, October 13, was basically a plea for donations to the Colorado COVID Relief Fund, but at least he didn’t announce any tightening of restaurant and bar capacity restrictions. That may be coming for Denver, though, as Denver Department of Public Health and Environment stated it would be issuing new public health orders for businesses later this week.

Some good news? Colorado Restaurant Association has compiled a list of local grants and loans available to businesses across the state, including funds for patio heaters, food trucks, mortgage relief, and PPE. It’s also hosting a free design workshop that includes architects, designers, contractors, and local health officials to create outdoor design solutions that will work in all kinds of Colorado environments. Restaurant owners and managers are encouraged to sign up.

The following information comes from the CRA’s Monday, October 12 newsletter. Sign up to receive the full version here.

Governor Polis Extends Mask Order

Governor Polis has extended the statewide mandatory mask order through November 10. You can read the full order here. The order requires all members of the public age 11 and up to wear masks in public indoor spaces (note that this varies in certain cities). Diners sitting at their tables and eating in restaurants are exempt, but everyone should wear masks as they move around the restaurants. 

You can find printable signage alerting your customers to this mandate here, and in Spanish here. (Note that certain counties have their own signage requirements, including Denver — find Denver’s signage here. Please check with your local public health department.)

Local Relief Programs Available for Restaurants

A number of local municipalities are offering relief for restaurants via loan and grant programs. We’re maintaining a running list of these programs here. We continue to advocate for local CARES Act dollars and other funding to be allocated toward programs to help restaurants. If you know of others, or wish to have your city included, please contact us at

Mayor Hancock Warns Denver May Roll Back Opening Allowances

Denver Mayor Hancock held a press conference Monday, October 12 during which he gave an update on COVID-19 spread within Denver. Mayor Hancock stressed that the 7-day average case rates are as high now as they were in May. Without public buy-in to wear masks and limit public gatherings, Mayor Hancock cautioned that the City may be forced to roll back reopening allowances to “High Risk” Level 3 of Safer at Home. Denver is currently at Level 2. If Denver were to regress to Level 3, restaurants would be limited to 25% of their posted indoor capacity. You can read more about the different levels by reviewing the CDPHE county dial here.

Bob McDonald with the Denver Department of Public Health and Environment (DDPHE) also spoke during the press conference, echoing Mayor Hancock’s concerns. He suggested that DDPHE would be issuing new public health orders for Denver restaurants and businesses sometime later this week to further reduce the spread. The details of these orders remain unclear, but in the past Denver has considered 10 p.m. last call orders and other measures to prevent social gatherings. We are working to gather more information about these orders now and will update with new information as soon as possible.

Restaurant Owner/Manager Participants Needed! Our Winter Outdoor Dining Design Workshop (Oct. 19) Aims to Create Affordable, Easy-to-Implement Cold Weather Patio Solutions

We are pleased to announce that we have partnered with the State of Colorado, the American Council of Engineering Companies of Colorado (ACEC), the American Institute of Architects Colorado (AIA), the Associated General Contractors of Colorado (AGC) and other design and construction professionals in an effort to encourage and support restaurants in the creation of outdoor dining spaces this winter.  

We know many restaurants will not make it through the season if they can’t increase their overall capacity. We are bringing together creative professionals in our state to create innovative and feasible solutions to make outdoor dining not only viable in the winter, but also comfortable and fun.

This program has 2 parts:

  • Part 1 – Charrette/Design Workshop:  We will bring together design professionals, contractors, public health officials, representatives from local fire departments, building officials, restaurateurs, and more to participate in a design charrette (a meeting in which all stakeholders in a project come together to attempt to resolve conflicts and map solutions) to create feasible ideas for outdoor dining concepts through Colorado’s cold-weather months.
  • Part 2 – Restaurant Grant Program: We are working on identifying a number of funding and grant options to support restaurants toward the cost of creating outdoor winter dining spaces. Stay tuned.

Learn more here. We are looking for restaurant owners and managers to participate in this design charrette/workshop on Oct. 19. If you wish to participate in the charrette, email us at

Talk to DiningOut! Email your experiences (and thoughts, opinions, and questions—anything, really) to


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