Restaurants begin reopening, rehiring staff in Colorado as the state loosens guidelines

Some owners say it will take them a few more days
Posted at 5:03 PM, May 27, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-27 20:57:22-04

DENVER -- Restaurants began reopening in Colorado on Wednesday, not with a bang but with a whimper.

For every restaurant that managed to set up in time to serve meals in person, there were a dozen others still scrambling to rehire workers and meet safety requirements.

At American Elm in Denver’s Highlands neighborhood, owner Bob Reiter says it'll take a few more days for him to get fully staffed and prepped.

"You know, like everybody, I think there's a lot of reactionary stuff happening," Reiter said. “We really look at this as – if you’re ready now – that’s great. Get open. You know, we’re going to take our time, try to be diligent and do this as safely, carefully and sort of thoroughly as we can.”

At the ViewHouse in LoDo, preparations for this day started weeks ago.

"We're so excited,” said Brad Manske, vice president of operations. “We've been doing everything we can, listening to the governor and mayor of Denver and following their lead."

The tables are spaced, the bar is fully stocked and the staff safely attired.

"It's really about getting people back to work, our employees back to work a little bit at a time," Manske said.

Guests should expect to sign in at the door, have your temperature checked and wear your mask to your table. Once you’re seated, you can remove it.

“We’ll have digital menus as well as disposable menus,” Manske said. “We have real plates available and we have plastic if someone would prefer. Same with silverware."

At Post Oak Barbecue on Tennyson Street, the regulars came flooding back in Wednesday.

"Feels good,” said owner Nick Prince. “It's great to see people in here and hear some new voices. We've prepared for it and it's looking like it's already a success."

Prince has modified his barbecue joint from quick serve to full service.

"No bar top seating,” Prince said. “We've removed all of our chairs."

Post Oak is also offering menus on your phone as well as disposable ‘sushi-like’ menus.

"People are itching to get back out," Prince said.