Colorado restaurants to open indoor dining at reduced capacity as counties move from Level Red to Level Orange

Colorado restaurants to open indoor dining at a 25% capacity or maximum 50 people
Posted at 7:33 AM, Jan 04, 2021
and last updated 2022-02-10 14:24:15-05

DENVER — Effective Monday, counties in Level Red on Colorado's COVID-19 dial will move to Level Orange, which means restaurants will be able to once again serve customers indoors, though still at reduced capacity.

"To say that we are very ecstatic is an understatement," said Long Nguyen, owner of Anise, Modern Vietnamese Eatery in Denver.

Starting Monday, their dining room will once again see familiar faces, albeit at a 25% capacity or a maximum of 50 people.

"We definitely did not make money at 25% or 50%," Nguyen said. "We’re not making money, but we still have to meet expenses so the 25% will help with the expenses. It’s a welcome reprieve."

When Colorado Gov. Jared Polis announced a few days ago that all of the state's counties on Level Red of the state’s COVID-19 dial would move to Level Orange, the news was received with open arms.

But still, questions remain.

"One day they’ll tell you we’re at orange, next day we’re at yellow, then they’re going to tell us, 'OK, we’re going to go back to orange,'" said Maria Katsaros, manager of Charlie Brown’s Bar & Grill in Denver.

Uncertainty stems around the 5 Star program, which allows qualifying businesses to stay open at a greater capacity. Some restaurant owners are concerned about what it means now that Denver is moving to the Level Orange.

"It’s like opening up a new restaurant," said Katsaros.

The Colorado Restaurant Association says for restaurants in counties moving from Level Red to Level Orange, the 5 Star program won’t allow restaurants to automatically move to an even lower yellow level. Final details are still being ironed out.