As restaurants in various parts of the state reopen in violation of the ban on dine-in services, some Denver restaurants and their advocates are calling for designated outdoor areas for eating once the government relaxes pandemic health rules further.
The Denver Post reports that the Downtown Denver Partnership proposed to Mayor Michael Hancock’s administration a closure of nine blocks around the city to allow for pedestrian traffic and outdoor dining. In the near-term, the modifications would allow eateries to reopen with proper distancing protocols, while further into the future the spaces could be lasting neighborhood improvements.
“We have done this many, many times, as have great cities around the world,” the partnership’s CEO, Tami Door, told The Post. “What is particularly intriguing about it now is it’s an amalgamation of wins.” She proposed that the pilot period run from Memorial Day through Halloween.
Three of the nine spaces are in downtown, and the list also includes the nearby neighborhoods of the West Highlands, Washington Park and Cherry Creek North. DDP's request to Hancock notes that the pinpointed locations have a history of street closures for permitted events and are already managed by community groups.
According to KDVR, Denver restaurants' sales declined 76% in April compared to the year prior, and even if dine-in service opened at 50% capacity — the limit for other businesses — restaurateurs would still struggle to stay afloat.
"We need at least 100% [capacity] to make it at all, especially in Denver’s economy," Kyle Kenney of Kaos Pizzeria told the station.