Denver 5-Star restaurants can host more people, move last call to midnight

Starting Wednesday, Denver restaurants that have completed a certification process will be able to serve liquor until midnight and host as many as 175 people indoors.

The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment had said counties meeting all metrics for Level Yellow on the state’s dial framework could allow 5-Star certified businesses to start operating at Level Blue once 70% of Coloradans ages 70 and over had received at least one COVID-19 vaccine dose. The state passed that mark at the end of February.

Denver city officials announced Wednesday that they planned to allow certified 5-Star businesses to move into Level Blue. At Level Blue, most businesses remain limited to 50% of capacity, but with a higher customer cap than under Level Yellow.

For example, under Level Yellow, a gym with a normal capacity of 200 was limited to 50 people at a time, because of the cap. That same gym could now host up to 100 people, because the cap for fitness facilities has been raised to 175 people or 50% of capacity, whichever is lower.

Certified restaurants also will see their customer cap raised to 175, or 225 for very large facilities that have shown they can host that many people while maintaining social distancing. They also will be able to move last call back one hour, from 11 p.m. to midnight.

The state also announced that “XL Indoor Event Venues” with a room larger than 28,000 square feet would be able to host up to 2,000 people, if organizers keep people from different households at least six feet apart. Venues such as Ball Arena, the Colorado Convention Center, the National Western Complex and Mission Ballroom are large enough to qualify, if they complete the 5-Star certification process.

The caps would rise to 25 for guided outdoor activities; 50 people for group sports and camps; 175 for non-critical manufacturing facilities and indoor events without assigned seats; 225 for seated indoor events, such as concerts; and 250 for outdoor events.

Businesses that haven’t completed the 5-Star certification process will continue to operate under the stricter Level Yellow caps. Certified businesses must perform extra cleaning, get contact information to notify customers in case of an outbreak, and take other precautions. Facilities previously cited for breaking public health rules aren’t eligible.

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