Restaurant Workers Can Soon Get Vaccinated

Restaurant workers finally have a timeline for vaccination, El Paso county is accepting 5 Star applications, and Denver plans its restaurant week.

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Illustration of syringes and vaccine vials
Restaurant workers (theoretically) can get vaccinated beginning in March. / hubdesign © 123RF.com

If you’re still trying to help your internet-illiterate, 78-year-old parents score a COVID vaccine, you’ll be thrilled to know Governor Polis is already planning on expanding the pool of Coloradans eligible to get the jab. The good news? Restaurant workers should be able to get poked around the beginning of March.

El Paso County restaurants can now apply for 5 Star certification, which would allow them to seat 50 percent capacity inside; Visit Denver is looking for your input on the city’s annual restaurant week with a super-quick, five-question survey; and if you’ve ever asked, “WTF is SUTA?” the Colorado Restaurant Association has answers.

The following information comes from the CRA’s February 2 and 4 newsletters. Sign up to receive the full versions here. And take a gander at its Coronavirus Resource Center and on its Covid-19 Reopening Resources for general info.

State Confirms Restaurant Workers Will Be Included in Vaccine Group 1B.3

We are thrilled to announce that the Governor’s office confirmed that foodservice workers will be included in phase 1B.3 of the State’s Vaccine Distribution Plan! The Colorado Restaurant Association has been urging the Governor’s office for some time to secure prioritized access to the vaccine, and to put restaurant employees in the same category as grocery store workers. Challenges and impacts from the pandemic have devastated the restaurant and foodservice industry; however, our workforce has remained on the front lines of the response to the pandemic by continuing operations and ensuring that Coloradans have access to safe, nutritious, and affordable food. On December 30, we sent Governor Polis a letter imploring him and his team to reconsider the placement of restaurant workers in the State’s phased vaccine rollout. (Read our letter to the Governor here.)

The State will enter phase 1B.2 starting on Monday, February 8, which includes teachers, legislators, and people aged 65-69. Governor Polis announced last week that he anticipates Phase 1B.3, which includes restaurant and grocery employees as frontline essential workers, will be eligible to receive the vaccine in early March. We are having ongoing conversations with the State regarding the timeline for availability and how restaurant workers will be able to access the vaccine. We will continue to update you as the plan develops. 

Read more about the State’s Vaccination Plan including informational resources and frequently asked questions here.

Although the vaccine offers a light at the end of the tunnel, we need to continue to stay vigilant in the coming weeks if we want to maintain the case metrics required to continue operating in less restrictive levels and achieve enough herd immunity to reopen in a meaningful and safe way. We know that our industry’s path to recovery is long and the hardships you all are facing will not go away with the rollout of the vaccine. We will continue to fight on behalf of restaurants at each level of government. If you have any questions or need anything at all, please reach out to us at info@corestaurants.org.

Applications Open for El Paso County’s 5 Star Program

Earlier this week, the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) approved El Paso County’s 5 Star Certification Program. The county’s program is now accepting applications. Interested businesses can find everything they need to prepare their application, including sample mitigation plans and applications, step-by-step instructions, and more resources here. Find the application here.

Submit Your Input to Visit Denver for Denver Restaurant Week 2021

VISIT DENVER is committed to the success of the restaurant industry and wants to ensure they are creating programs that provide the most value to both restaurants and diners.  

To that end, please take a minute to fill out this survey regarding options for Denver Restaurant Week (DRW) 2021 here.

It was impractical to host DRW at its traditional time in late February/early March this year, but Visit Denver feels that hosting one this Spring may offer more potential with warmer weather and the likelihood that many restaurants will be operating in Level Yellow due to an overall improvement in the COVID situation or due to successful application to Denver’s 5 Star program or from other counties with a program in place.

Visit Denver is not considering any changes to the price points of $25, $35 or $45 for the 2021 program.

Please contact Justin Bresler, VP of Marketing at VISIT DENVER with any questions at jbresler@visitdenver.com.

What is the SUTA Tax and Why is it Going Up in 2021? Resources From Fourth!

It’s probably fair to say that most entrepreneurs didn’t give much thought to the complexities around payroll management and taxes before starting a business and hiring employees. The fact of the matter is that business owners have a variety of tax obligations, and there are likely acronyms like SUTA (State Unemployment Tax Act) and FUTA (Federal Unemployment Tax Act) you’ve never heard of before that you need to know as they relate to managing your business. What is the SUTA? How is it calculated? Why is it going up in 2021?

Learn everything you need to know and get help here, from our partners at Fourth.

5 Star State Certification Program County Guide

We are beginning to see restaurants reopen their indoor dining rooms at a limited capacity in counties with approved 5 Star State Certification Programs. If you have any questions regarding what guidelines certified restaurants have to follow, click here.

Counties interested in implementing the 5 Star State Certification Program must submit a variance application for State approval. Once approved, the county can then launch its application for businesses. Interested businesses can apply for the program through their local county application system. Approved restaurants can then utilize the capacity guidelines and last call hours of the next, less restrictive dial level.

We will continue to provide an updated list of counties with approved 5 Star State Certification Programs and how to find details on the specifics of the program and application process in each county. Below is a list of the 5-Star operating allowances for each county.

  • Adams County – (pilot program open to first 100 restaurants, full approval pending) Allows for current operation in Level Orange
  • Arapahoe County – Allows for current operation in Level Orange
  • Archuleta County – Allows for current operation in Level Orange
  • Boulder County – Allows for current operation in Level Yellow
  • Broomfield County – Allows for current operation in Level Yellow
  • Denver County (application approved, implementation pending decrease in COVID-19 metrics)
  • Douglas County – Allows for current operation in Level Yellow
  • Elbert County – Allows for current operation in Level Yellow
  • El Paso County – Allows for current operation in Level Yellow
  • Douglas County – Allows for current operation in Level Orange
  • Garfield County – Allows for current operation in Level Orange
  • Jefferson County – Allows for current operation in Level Yellow
  • La Plata County – Allows for current operation in Level Orange
  • Larimer County – Allows for current operation in Level Yellow
  • Moffat County – Allows for current operation in Level Yellow
  • Pitkin County – Allows for current operation in Level Orange
  • Pueblo County – Allows for current operation in Level Yellow
  • Routt County (application submitted, approval pending)
  • Summit County – Allows for current operation in Level Orange
  • Weld County – Allows for current operation in Level Orange

You can also access our 5 Star County Guide on our website here. You can read more about the 5 Star State Certification Program here.

Talk to DiningOut! Email your experiences (and thoughts, opinions, and questions—anything, really) to askus@diningout.com

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