CRA: New Legislation, Grants, Free PPE

Curated news from the CRA.

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Bad news is slightly less distressing with googly eyes attached. / Vladimir Polikarpov © 123RF.com

Get advice about how to handle your restaurant and liquor licenses in light of Special Session Senate Bill 001; see the CRA’s feedback about Colorado’s 5 Star Certification Program; try and keep up with changes to liquor delivery in Denver (we dare you); and get free PPE for your staff. Plus, Centennial operators should contact City Council regarding proposed legislation on delivery apps, and Arapahoe County businesses can apply for up to $40,000 in grant funds.

The following information comes from the CRA’s December 3 newsletter. Sign up to receive the full version here

Clarification on Special Session Bill for Small-Business Relief

Special Session Senate Bill 001 will provide $37 million for direct relief to small businesses located in a county or other local government that is subject to, and in compliance with, severe capacity restrictions. This aid is meant specifically for restaurants, bars, movie theaters, and gyms.

The bill would also provide state funding to the state Liquor Enforcement Division (LED) and the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) in lieu of those agencies charging annual licensing fees to retail food establishments. If you have received an invoice from your local health department for your 2021 retail food license, do not pay it. If you already have paid it, you will be refunded. CDPHE and the local health departments are working on the process of informing restaurants and refunding those who have paid. We have contacted LED about your liquor licenses, but have yet to hear how this should be handled.  For now, we recommend that you proceed like businesses as usual and pay your renewal.  More details to come as soon as we learn more.

Counties eligible for this aid must demonstrate good-faith efforts to promote compliance with applicable executive and public health orders within the scope of its authority and in consideration of available resources, including engaging law enforcement to enforce executive and public health order violations. They must not have adopted a local public health order that is less restrictive than the state public health orders – unless the county has obtained a variance or other exemption. If a county is determined by the state to be ineligible based on the county’s failure to meet the criteria of the public health guidelines or the county is unable to administer the relief program, eligible municipalities within the county may participate in the relief program.

If an eligible municipality has distributed relief payments to the eligible small businesses located within the geographical boundaries of the municipality, and has money remaining, the municipality may distribute relief payments to small businesses located in an unincorporated area of the county in which the municipality is located, and within a one-mile radius of the geographical boundaries of the municipality.

If this bill is signed into law, the state will distribute the funds to participating local governments with severe capacity limits. Restaurants who can prove at least twenty percent revenue loss since March 26, 2020, due to public health restrictions can apply for financial relief through their local governments. Please note that this requirement does not apply to small businesses that began operating on or after January 1, 2020, and on or before March 26, 2020.

Depending on 2019 receipts, restaurants could be eligible for funds ranging from $3,500-$7,000. The state would also waive all fees associated with retail food and liquor license renewals for one year.

This bill passed the legislature and is awaiting the Governor’s signature. Restaurateurs can apply for these grant funds starting early January. Money will be distributed by February 12, 2021.

Denver’s Updated Public Health Order Allows for Alcohol Delivery Until 2 a.m.

Denver updated its latest Public Health Order to more closely align with State rules for to-go alcohol sales and delivery hours. Effective immediately, restaurants can now deliver alcohol until 2 a.m. As a reminder, here are the updated rules for restaurants and bars in Denver, which remains in Level Red on the State’s COVID-19 dial:

  • Indoor dining is temporarily closed
  • Outdoor patio dining remains open for tables from the same household
  • Last call for dine-in outdoor alcohol service is 8 p.m.
  • Dine-in outdoor alcohol consumption ceases at 10 p.m.
  • Alcohol takeout and curbside service closes by 10 p.m.
  • Alcohol delivery from restaurants and bars closes by 2 a.m. 

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