Masks Are (Slowly) Going the Way of the Dodo

What's next for RRF applicants, mask regulations, Summit County, and to-go booze.

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Large, blue lake surrounded by dark green evergreen trees, tall mountains in the background, and bright blue sky with white clouds.
You can now breathe in the fresh air of Summit County sans mask. / Copyright: Brian Welker

If you applied for the RRF, the waiting game is now underway. While you’re standing by, try and make sense of the newest mask orders (we have updates on Boulder and Denver below). Summit County is the latest to eliminate the six-foot social distancing requirements in restaurants. And finally, the Colorado Restaurant Association (CRA) is urging operators to contact the state legislature to help ensure the extension of to-go alcohol is finalized.

The following information comes from the CRA’s May 5 and 6 newsletters. Sign up to receive the full versions here.

If You Applied for a Restaurant Revitalization Fund Grant: Here’s What Comes Next

Over 186,200 restaurants and bars applied for Restaurant Revitalization Fund (RRF) grants within the first 36 hours of the application going live on Monday. A significant number of applications came from businesses owned and controlled by women, veterans, socially, and/or economically disadvantaged individuals and from businesses with under $500,000 in annual pre-pandemic revenue, representing some of the smallest restaurants and bars in the Country.

The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) released next steps for those 186,200 businesses who may be wondering, what now? Here are the highlights:

  • SBA is reviewing and processing priority applications first from May 3 to May 24, and then all remaining applications will be reviewed. Applicants under review status should not anticipate any outreach from the SBA during this initial period. 
  • To make any corrections following submission and before award funding, applicants must revisit the application portal, submit new documentation, and initiate a restart of the timeline for review. If an applicant initiates a restart, it may take 14 days from the time of resubmission for SBA to finalize the review. The SBA will not allow corrections to awards that have been paid to awardees.
  • If the submitted application is successful, all applications enter “IRS verification.” No action is needed from applicants for this process, which allows the SBA to validate information. The process may take up to seven days.
  • An additional 4506T form submission is not required after applicants sign the application during the e-sign process.
  • Applicants can submit a message using the platform inbox for help when on the web portal. 

Denver and Boulder Counties Issue Updated Mask Mandates

On May 6, both the City and County of Denver and the Boulder County Public Health Department extended and updated their mask mandates. Boulder’s order is in effect May 6, and Denver’s goes into effect May 7. Both will stand for 30 days.

The orders mirror each other and closely resemble the statewide order issued on Monday, May 3, dictating the following:

  • Masks are required in public-serving indoor spaces, including restaurants, regardless of vaccination status or group size. 
  • In Denver, this does not apply to children aged 2 years and under.
  • In Boulder, this does not apply to children aged 1 year and under.
  • Masks are not required in outdoor spaces.

Boulder County is hosting its last Cross-Industry Support Session on Thursday, May 13, at 1 p.m. 

Read Boulder County’s updated guidance here. Read Denver County’s updated guidance here

Summit County Enters Level Green, Removing Social Distancing Requirements in Restaurants

As of today, May 5, Summit County has entered Level Green, which removes social distancing requirements in restaurants. The County’s COVID-19 case incidence rate has not exceeded 100 for more than 7 consecutive days, and the county has not seen any new COVID-19 hospitalizations in the last week. Unless hospitalization numbers surge, the county will not move backwards on the dial.

In Level Green, restaurants:

  • Do not need to follow social distancing protocols. However, the County recommends restaurants consider maintaining 6-foot distancing between parties.
  • Are required to prevent staff from working if they are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms or have been exposed to the virus.
  • Face coverings are required for public indoor spaces and at outdoor events when individuals will be within six feet of each other for more than 15 minutes. At this time, Summit County is not removing mask requirements for restaurants based on vaccination status of staff or guests. Face coverings are not required in the following situations:
    • Performers do not need to wear a mask if they are spaced at least 25 feet from the audience.
    • When an individual is seated in a restaurant, eating, or drinking.
  • Do not have to cease sales of alcohol earlier than the time specified on their liquor license, 2 a.m., as determined by the State of Colorado.

Help Us Extend Alcohol To Go! Respond to Our Call to Action

House Bill 21-1027 by Senators Bridges (D-Littleton) and Priola (R-Brighton) would extend the sale of alcohol for takeout and delivery from an on-premises liquor license (Restaurants, Brewpubs, Distillery Pubs, Vintner’s Restaurants, Taverns) for five years in the State of Colorado, increase the amount of alcohol restaurants can sell for takeout and delivery after the pandemic, and allow local governments to create “Communal Outdoor Dining areas” where two or more restaurants would be able to sell and serve to customers in a communal area. 

We need you to reach out to your Colorado Senators TODAY to tell them what this additional source of revenue has meant to your business and how this will help with your businesses’ recovery from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. Please take a few minutes to share your story in an email to your Senators by clicking here. Together, we can push this important bill over the finish line!

The law requires restaurants to abide by the following regulations in order to sell alcohol for takeout or delivery:

  • The licensee may sell an alcohol beverage in a sealed container and deliver the alcohol to customers OR the licensee may allow a customer to purchase and remove the sealed alcohol beverage via takeout.
  • All deliveries must be made by a person who is twenty-one years of age or older and an employee of the licensee.
  • When the state of emergency is over, on-premises retailers would be limited in their total sales of take-out and delivery alcohol annually to 50% of their total food and beverage sales and individual orders would also be limited to specific amounts.

Speak out today!

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

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