New Day, New Dial

The state has finally loosened capacity restrictions (sorta). Here's what that means for restaurants, plus get info on an equity vaccine clinic in Aurora.

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Abstract color wave curl rainbow strip paper: purple, red, orange, yellow, blue, and green.
New day, new dial. / Liliia Rudchenko © 123RF.com

Changes to Colorado’s COVID dial went into effect on Wednesday, March 24. The beneficiaries? Counties in levels blue and green, bars, and 5-Star certiified restaurants. The biggest beneficiaries? Large restaurants that have space to spread out their tables. They’ll be able to serve at up to 100 percent capacity as long as they can maintain six feet between parties.

There’s also an equity vaccine clinic scheduled for April 3 in Aurora. Call for an appointment. (Also: Be nice, although that should go without saying.)

The following information comes from the CRA’s March 23 newsletter. Sign up to receive the full version here. And take a gander at its Coronavirus Resource Center, COVID-19 Reopening Resources, and Restaurant Worker’s Guide to the COVID-19 Vaccine for more info. 

State Releases Dial 3.0, Including Changes to Draft From Restaurant Feedback!

The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) has released the ninth amended COVID-19 Public Health Order, making several revisions to the State dial framework. Restaurant and Bar specific guidance can be found in Appendix H starting on page 53. This order is in effect as of March 24. The State has announced that this order is expected to be in effect until mid-April, at which point the State plans to retire the dial entirely and give control of capacity restrictions to local public health agencies. Thank you to every one of you who submitted your feedback to the State’s draft proposal last week. With a strong and unified voice, we were able to influence changes to the draft that allow for increased capacity in restaurants. The most notable inclusions from the letter the CRA sent to the State are the removal of statewide restrictions, including 6 feet distancing, for restaurants in Level Green and the expansion of the capacity cap in Level Blue, increasing from the proposed 60% of posted occupancy to 100% with 6 foot distancing.

Please see below for all of the changes that pertain to restaurants.

Level Green

  • Restrictions for restaurants in Level Green are now removed, including the 6 foot distancing requirement. Local governments may still implement restrictions, however, and we anticipate that most will do so. Bars and indoor events must still adhere to a 50% capacity limit or a 500-person cap, whichever is fewer.
  • Outdoor events in Levels Green and Blue no longer have state-level capacity restrictions under the dial. Counties may choose to implement capacity restrictions on outdoor events at the local level.
  • The metrics for Level Green have changed. These changes make it easier for counties to enter Level Green. Now, counties qualify if they have up to 35 COVID-19 cases per 100,000 people — up from 15 cases.
  • There is no longer a certification process for Level Green. Counties will be moved into Level Green once they maintain the appropriate metrics for at least one week.

Level Blue

  • Restaurants can now operate with 100% of their posted occupancy with 6 feet of distancing between parties and no more than 10 guests per party.
  • Restaurants may still use any existing, licensed outdoor space for in-person dining with the same group limit of 10 and minimum spacing of 6 feet apart.
  • Bars can now open in Level Blue without serving food. The capacity limit is 25% capacity or 75 people per room, whichever is fewer.
  • Outdoor events in Levels Green and Blue no longer have state-level capacity restrictions under the dial. Counties may choose to implement capacity restrictions on outdoor events at the local level.
  • Indoor Events may be conducted at 50% of the posted occupancy limit not to exceed 175 people, whichever is less, per room excluding staff. If the event is a seated event, the event may be conducted at 50% of the posted occupancy limit not to exceed 225 people indoors per room, whichever is less, excluding staff, within their usable space.
  • The metrics range for Level Blue is now 36 – 100 COVID-19 cases per 100,000 people.

Updates for 5-Star Certified Businesses

  • 5 Star-certified restaurants in Levels Blue and Yellow may operate at 100% capacity with 6 feet of distance between parties as a way to provide businesses with increased flexibility, while still limiting indoor mass gatherings. However, the state acknowledges that maintaining a 6 foot distancing requirement will be a limiting factor for most indoor spaces.
  • 5 Star-certified seated and unseated indoor events may operate at 50% capacity with a 500-person limit in Level Blue. 5 Star seated indoor events in Level Yellow may operate at 50% capacity with a 225 person limit and unseated indoor events in Level Yellow may operate at 50% capacity with a 175 person limit.

Last Call Times

  • Level Green: 2:00 AM, but counties may set earlier last call times
  • Level Blue: 2:00 AM, but counties may set earlier last call times
  • Level Yellow: 1:00 AM, but counties may set earlier last call times
  • Level Orange: midnight, but counties may set earlier last call times
  • Level Red: 10:00 PM, but counties may set earlier last call times

Please note, that this public health order does not change the statewide mask-mandate. The mask order expires on April 3, and the State may release updated guidance pertaining to masks at that time.

You can view where your county is on the State’s dial here, and the updated capacity chart for each level here

Havana BID Equity Vaccine Clinic on April 3

The Havana Business Improvement District (BID) and many community partners have been working to host equity vaccine clinics. They will be hosting a first dose clinic on Saturday, April 3, 2021 at The Stampede from 10 a.m. – 3 p.m. for patients that qualify under the state’s qualifications.

The Havana BID will be administering 600 vaccines with community volunteers, The Colorado Department of Health and Environment (CDPHE), the Colorado Primary Care Clinic (CPCC with Dr. Dawn Fetzco) & Colorado Alliance for Health Equity and Practice (CAHEP with Dr. Alok Sarwal.)

To register, you must make an appointment by calling one of the below providers. These vaccines are being administered by appointment only. There is no online form to register. Please do not sign up for both clinics. 

Provider 1: Dr. Alok Sarwal – Medicine Clinic for Health Equity / Colorado Alliance for Health Equity and Practice (CAHEP). Call 303-954-0058 to make an appointment.

Provider 2: Dr. Dawn Fetzco – Colorado Primary Care Clinic. Call 303-343-9500 to make an appointment.

Please be patient and kind with the registration process. The clinics do need to pre-qualify each patient to give an appointment time. If you are under the age of 18, please verify which vaccine will be distributed when you call, as the Janssen (Johnson & Johnson) vaccine is not available to people under 18 years of age.

SURVEY: Help Us Advocate for Widespread Vaccine Distribution for Our Industry

We are continuing to advocate for widespread distribution of vaccines for the restaurant industry, including pushing the State to conduct more restaurant-specific vaccine clinics. In order to understand the need, please fill out this brief survey so we can most effectively advocate for these clinics.

Respond to the survey here.

SURVEY: Help Us Advocate for Industry Stimulus on the State and Local Level

We know that restaurants still have a long road to recovery ahead and for many, more cash relief will be paramount to their recovery. We are collecting data on the various stimulus programs that were offered on the state and local level this past year. Please take a moment to provide your input on these programs. Your responses will help us advocate for the relief that will be most effective in helping diverse restaurants across the state.

Please respond to this survey here.

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

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