CRA: Don’t Be a Scofflaw

Curated news from the CRA.

Speech bubble with five red stars as symbol of customer review.
Speak now or forever hold your peace. / Vitaliy Vodolazskyy ©

State Requests Input on 5 Star Certification Program

The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment is requesting public input on a business best practice certification program draft framework. This proposed state framework builds upon the model program Mesa County has pioneered and has successfully run since the summer, and may allow restaurants to increase indoor capacity beyond what is allowed by their level on the state dial.

You can review the draft certification program details and submit comments through this form. The deadline to submit comments is December 4, 2020.

Round 2 for Winter Outdoor Dining Grant Program Now Open

In partnership with the State of Colorado, we are thrilled to announce that the Colorado Restaurant Foundation is now accepting applications for the second round of our Winter Outdoor Grant Program! Restaurants have repeatedly told us that they require two things to survive: financial assistance and capacity. This program aims to chip away at both. Colorado-based restaurants may apply for grants of up to $10,000 to help winterize patio space for continued outdoor dining. Special consideration will be given to restaurants with greater hardship, and geographic distribution will be considered. Projects that were completed after August 1 of this year, are still in progress, or are planned are eligible for funding.

Read more here. Go to the grant application here.

The second application round of the Winter Outdoor Grant Program will close December 11, 2020, and grants will be disbursed by December 21. A third round may be available based on funding.

Dine Out to Help Out Winter Restaurant Challenge Begins Tomorrow

On December 1, our Dine Out to Help Out Winter Restaurant Challenge kicks off on Instagram.

This campaign features daily challenges — e.g., ordering a holiday meal, dining or taking out in an ugly sweater, buying a holiday gift, and more — providing Coloradans with ways to support their neighborhood restaurants through the winter and incorporate restaurants into their holiday shopping and celebrations.

We will share daily challenges on Instagram for diners to complete and post corresponding photos using the hashtag #DineOuttoHelpOut and tagging @corestaurants and the featured business. Diners are encouraged to search our database for restaurants in their area where they can complete that day’s challenge. 

We encourage you to share the graphics that apply to your winter offerings, to engage your own customer base. These will be continually updated throughout the month.

Submit your restaurant’s winter offerings to the Dine Out to Help Out database here.

Free COVID-19 Legal Assistance

In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, many restaurants are forgoing legal help for fear of accruing expenses they won’t be able to pay. In an effort to give back to the restaurant community in its darkest hour and get operators the assistance they need, Denver-based law firm Messner Reeves is offering each Colorado restaurant up to four hours of pro bono legal services to address issues arising from the pandemic. This offer is available to all Colorado-based and Colorado-located restaurants, and the only requirement is that your legal issue be COVID-19-related. Areas of assistance include: 

Recent regulatory changes and developments impacting the restaurant industry;

  • Landlord/Tenant negotiations and lease review;
  • CARES Act/SBA Funding (EIDL loan applications, PPP forgiveness, and other issues surrounding the programs);
  • Vendor negotiations;
  • Policies & Procedures including employee and customer health, food safety, and other compliance requirements;
  • and more. 

To access this assistance, send an email succinctly stating what your issue is to We will refer you to the Messner Reeves team, who will conduct a short intake interview to determine your primary needs and assign you to the correct practice. Please understand that Messner Reeves may be inundated by requests, and they will work through them as quickly as they can without sacrificing work quality.

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


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here