Denver’s outside eating program is changing into everlasting

Tents, tables, and even fisherman’s huts have become everyday attractions outside of Denver restaurants, bars, and breweries since the pandemic began shortly after the pandemic began and indoor restaurants closed in March 2020 to provide seating in parking lots, on sidewalks and in streets as well as other public spaces adjacent to their buildings.

The extra space helped offset the pandemic capacity restrictions that had been in place for the past nineteen months, but even after those restrictions were lifted, outdoor seating remained popular with property owners and operators as well as guests. To date, 373 Denver bars and restaurants have participated in the program.

In September 2020, the program was extended to October 31 of this year. With the deadline looming and cold weather imminent, Mayor Michael Hancock announced on October 26th that the program would be permanent. At Hancock’s announcement outside of Daughter Thai Kitchen & Bar at 1700 Platte Street, the mayor was accompanied by a group of Denver restaurateurs, the Colorado Restaurant Association, and representatives from other agencies.

The permanent program will start next October and the current temporary program will remain in place until then. Restaurants and bars whose permits for additional outdoor seating should expire on October 31 can now apply for an extension until January 31, 2022 – and over 100 have so far.

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Under current guidelines, businesses must apply for a quarterly approval from the Denver Department of Transportation and Infrastructure to use public roads. Starting this month, there will also be a $ 50 temporary permit fee for outdoor dining, due for each quarterly renewal period.

“The restaurant industry has been disproportionately affected by this pandemic and the al fresco dining program has given them some relief to help them keep their doors open and keep their workers busy,” Hancock said at the announcement. “We look forward to making our outdoor dining program a permanent part of the Denver experience and supporting sustainable economic recovery for our local restaurants, their employees and the communities they belong to.”

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