COVID-19 Reopening Resources

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We are compiling resources for restaurants to use as they reopen. For more Coronavirus 
resources, click here. These resources will continue to be updated.

Jump to a section:
Guidelines for Reopening
Sanitation and Cleaning Considerations
Required and Suggested Posters
Employee Considerations
Rent and Landlord Negotiations
Reopening Supplies
Takeout and Delivery Details
Free COVID Legal Help

State and Local Guidelines for Dining Room Reopenings

State and County Guidelines for Restaurants
State Guidelines
CDPHE site with local orders and variances
Press Release on State Opening Date, May 27
Capacity Calculator for Extra Large Venues
Guidance for Bars Reopening Without Food Service
Live Music Clarification

County Variances: Click Here
Now that state guidelines have been released, local variances will remain in effect if the local municipality chooses. The local municipality can choose to adopt the state guidelines if the state guidelines are less restrictive. If the state guidelines are more restrictive, the local variance will remain. This is our understanding from the state at this time. We'll keep you posted on new developments as we receive them.

Local Outdoor Expansion Programs: Click Here
Cities are launching local outdoor expansion programs to help restaurants grow capacity while adhering to social distancing guidelines. You'll also need to file an application for expanding your liquor license with the state. Find details here

Attorneys at our Legal Resource Center partner Dill + Dill have drafted possession forms you can use as you expand your patio into neighboring space. See an agreement for a landlord/tenant relationship here, and an agreement for a third party here

Insurance considerations for outdoor expansion: click here.

Safer at Home

The state has now transitioned from the Stay at Home phase of recovery to the Safer at Home phase of recovery. The Safer at Home guidelines aim to achieve 60-65% social distancing, as opposed to the 75-80% achieved in the current Stay at Home order. In addition to prohibiting all gatherings over 10 people, under the Safer at Home guidelines the public will be encouraged to:

  • Stay at home except when absolutely necessary
  • Wear face coverings in public
  • Stay at home if they are exhibiting any symptoms
  • Avoid unnecessary travel

You can find the public health orders and the executive orders here:

Safer at Home
Masks Required for Essential Employees
Local Mask Orders
Clarification on Facemasks for Back of House Employees
Clarification on Face Shields
See a list of all state and local orders in your jurisdiction – Credit CCI

Signage for Posting for Customer Notices

COVID-19 symptoms poster

Mask Posters: here and here.

New Sanitation and Cleaning Considerations

State guidelines
CDC guidance for reopening
EPA guidance for disinfecting and cleaning
Cleaning and disinfection guidance from EcoLab
CRA business directory
CRA COVID-19 Symptoms poster
How to Use QR Codes to Create Touchless Menus

Required and Suggested Posters

As you reopen your dining rooms, there are posters you are either required to post or are encouraged to post. 

FFCRA poster -- required for everyone. This poster details the sick leave requirements outlined by the Families First Coronavirus Response Act. It must be printed and posted where your employees can see it. Find it here

Mask poster -- required in some counties. This poster asks customers to wear masks. While it's not required everywhere, we recommend you post it, as customers statewide should be wearing masks in restaurants if not seated at their table. Find "masks required" option here and "masks recommended" here

COVID-19 symptoms poster -- recommended. This poster asks customers not to enter your establishment if they have symptoms of COVID-19. We recommend you post it at your entrance. Find it here.

Employee Considerations

Let’s Get Checked - Private at-home COVID testing kits:

  • Free Shipping + Online results in 2-4 days once swab is received by lab
  • 20% discount using Hospitality20 at check-out
  • FDA authorized
  • Minimum order of 20 tests upon first order

Cost: $107 per test includes expedited shipping

Rehiring Staff and Legal Labor Considerations

Fisher Phillips reopening FAQ

Many businesses across the state were forced to either furlough their staff, or lay them off entirely. It’s important to keep a few things in mind as you work to bring staff back.

If you reach out to an individual currently collecting unemployment benefits from the state and offer them a job, and they explicitly decline the job offer because they believe they will make more money with enhanced unemployment, that individual is no longer qualified for unemployment benefits. If you find yourself in this situation, you can report a change in circumstance to the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment here.

If you have laid off staff and are now offering them their jobs back, you will need to have them fill out new employment forms such as I-9 and W-4. If you have furloughed staff, or those that have been suspended without pay, it is the employees’ responsibility to report their change in circumstance to the Department of Labor and Employment if they have been collecting unemployment benefits.

Rehiring letter templates: here and here

If you need help drafting new policies, please contact us at to be paired with an attorney in our legal resource center.

Employee Health and Safety - in partnership with Fisher Phillips

If you have an employee that tests positive for COVID-19, please tell the employee to contact their local public health agency for further direction.

Fisher Phillips reopening guidance and FAQ

According to the EEOC’s Technical Assistance Questions and Answers, an employer may choose to administer COVID-19 testing to employees before they enter the workplace to determine if they have the virus.

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requires that any mandatory medical test of employees be “job related and consistent with business necessity.” Applying this standard to the current circumstances of the COVID-19 pandemic, employers may take steps to determine if employees entering the workplace have COVID-19. That’s because an individual with the virus will pose a direct threat to the health of others.  Consistent with the ADA standard, you should ensure that any tests you administer are accurate and reliable.

Until further notice, you may continue to operate under the EEOC’s guidance, which confirms that measuring employees’ body temperatures is permissible. Unless required by a local or state order, taking temperatures is not required in most workplaces. Doing so will require extensive planning, training, and could even be quite expensive. In addition, many individuals infected with COVID-19 won't exhibit any symptoms, and thus temperature screening likely won’t prevent all workers who can transmit the disease from entering your worksite. The CDC recommends screening employees for fevers of more than 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit, and CDPHE has the same threshold. If you decide to screen your employees, also plan to check the temperatures of guests, clients, vendors, and contractors to ensure a safe work environment. If you are recording employee temperatures in a log, you must keep that information confidential due to privacy concerns under HIPPA. You may want to consider taking note that employees are beneath the 100.4 degrees threshold unless the state or local public health agency requires businesses to keep a log.

See CDPHE guidance for employee temperatures here and CDPHE employee symptom screening form.

Webinar on Employee Safety Considerations: Recording here; slides here.
Webinar on Employee Liability Considerations: Recording here.

Paid Sick Leave


FFCRA required poster
Fisher Phillips FFCRA paid leave guidance

If you recall an employee any time before December 31, 2020, and the person indicates that they are unable to return because of one of the qualifying reasons for Emergency Paid Sick Leave (EPSL) benefits or Emergency Family and Medical Leave Act (EFMLA) leave under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA), they may be entitled to the EPSL benefit or EFMLA benefit.

Further, if an employee returns to work, they will then be potentially eligible for these benefits until December 31, 2020 if subsequently covered by a qualifying reason that makes them unable to work or telework. Please note, if you rehire an employee, they do not need to be on your payroll for an additional 30 days to qualify for paid leave. The FFCRA was amended to provide that if an employee was laid off or otherwise terminated on or after March 1, 2020, and rehired or otherwise reemployed by the employer on or before December 31, 2020, they will be entitled to EFMLA if they had been on the employer’s payroll for 30 or more of the 60 calendar days prior to the layoff or termination.

Colorado Help paid sick leave rules:

The Colorado Department of Labor and Employment has issued amendments to the Colorado HELP Rules, the temporary state paid sick leave program. You can read the amended Rules here. These amendments lengthen the duration of the state paid sick leave from 4 days’ full pay to two weeks (80 hours) at 2/3 pay. In order for an employee to qualify for paid leave under the Colorado Help Act, an employee must:

  • Experience flu-like or respiratory illness symptoms, AND
  • Be getting tested for COVID-19, OR under instructions from a health care provider or authorized government official to quarantine or isolate due to a risk of having COVID-19.

As a reminder, for non-tipped employees, employers must pay them 2/3 of their average daily pay based on the preceding month. For tipped employees, the employer doesn’t have to estimate tips. Instead, tipped employees need to be paid at least 2/3 the full minimum wage (or more if their hourly wage if higher) – and use their average daily pay for the previous month to calculate hours.

The paid sick leave ends if an employee receives a negative COVID-19 test result once the employee has been fever-free for 72 hours, with other symptoms resolving as well – but not earlier than after seven calendar days off from work, and in no event with more than fourteen paid sick days.

These rules do not require an employer to offer additional days of paid sick leave if they already offer all employees an amount of paid leave sufficient to comply with the Rules.


Free ServSafe video on Coronavirus considerations: click here.

Rent and Landlord Negotiations

Rent payments are one of the most common financial burdens for operators the COVID-19 pandemic. Access to rent and mortgage assistance is scarce, and businesses who are received their PPP funding may only use 25% of their loan amount towards rent and mortgage interest payments.

It may be beneficial for businesses to contact their landlord to work on a payment plan. Be honest and transparent with them, and tell them that you cannot fulfill all the requirements of your lease agreement because of COVID-19 closures and mandates. Ask if they would be willing to negotiate a plan that will work for both of you during these unprecedented times.

In order to begin the process, you must first understand your lease obligations and specifically what you will be asking for.

Rent abatement

  • This will allow tenants to suspend rent or pay only a portion of the rent for a specified period of time.

Rent deferment

  • The landlord can defer a portion of the tenant’s rent, but would require them to repay the rent deferred at a later time, often in a lump sum or by increasing subsequent payments or extending the term of the lease. There is room here to be creative with repayment options to find something that works well for both parties.

Have a clear plan with specific requests arranged before you reach out to your landlord, and be ready to negotiate. If you need legal advice, please contact us at to be referred to an attorney in our legal resource center. 

You can read more about rent and landlord negotiations here.
You can listen to a webinar with Messner Reeves legal experts here.

Re-opening Supplies

ECOLab Sanitation Check-list

CRA Business Directory

Food and Beverage Delivery and Takeout Considerations

Alcohol To-Go and Delivery

Governor Polis issued an executive order allowing restaurants to sell alcohol for off-premise consumption via takeout, delivery, and curbside pickup. Please consider the following:

  • Mixed drinks can be sold to go and can be sold in a cup or other container closed securely with a lid taped securely to the cup or other container.
  • A plastic lid complies with this regulation as long as any holes in the lid are sealed securely with tape, no straw is inserted through the lid, and the contents of the cup are not partially removed.
  • If you are selling alcohol to go, in a plastic cup with a lid, it must be accompanied with a warning statement (example here) with a minimum fourteen (14) font size, stating as follows: “WARNING: DO NOT OPEN OR REMOVE SEAL WHILE IN TRANSIT. Purchasers are subject to state and local laws prohibiting drinking or possessing open containers of alcoholic beverages in motor vehicles, including section 42-4-1305, C.R.S.”
  • Out of an abundance of caution, the CRA is recommending that you include the warning statement with ALL sales of alcohol to go.
  • Find labels for printing here
  • Restaurants can sell sealed full bottles of beer, wine, and spirits to go.
  • There is no limit as to the amount of alcohol a restaurant can sell.
  • Restaurants can sell cocktails to go in sealed containers.
  • A cocktail or mixed drink sold in a plastic cup with a plastic lid is ok, as long as there is not a straw in it. 
  • Growlers and crowlers CANNOT refilled by restaurants or bars for to-go or delivery alcohol. However, new growlers and crowlers that the restaurant has purchased and that have never been used can be used for to-go and delivery alcohol. However, restaurants can sell
    alcohol in growlers and crowlers that they have purchased and that have not been used before. The container can be no larger than 64 fluid ounces. 
  • Liquor sold to go in a plastic bag or baggie is NOT allowed.
  • All sales of alcohol to go must be accompanied by the sale of food (but something as small as a bag of potato chips or nuts will suffice.)
  • All other laws and rules around selling alcohol still apply. No sales to someone under 21 years of age. No sales to someone showing signs of visible intoxication.
  • For delivery orders, individuals placing the order must be 21 years of age or over, and must provide their name, date of birth, and delivery address. This information must be verified upon delivery.
  • Deliveries may only be made to the address provided at the time of the order.
  • Persons making the delivery must be 21 years old or older and an employee of the licensee. (We are working with LED and the Governor’s office to allow third parties to deliver as many restaurants aren’t set up for delivery.)
  • Licensee must retain all records regarding the delivery of alcohol beverages.
Full alcohol FAQ

Alcohol To-Go and Delivery passes legislature

Best Practices for Safe Food Takeout and Delivery Services

National Restaurant Consultants (NRC) and the Colorado Restaurant Association are providing as a service to the foodservice and hospitality industry additional information for restaurants implementing delivery service utilizing their own staff members due to the dining closures of restaurants in Colorado. This resource contains guidelines for managers, an official policy template, and templates for forms you may need to implement delivery using your own staff. Find the document here.

National Restaurant Consultants is a leading national restaurant consulting firm based in Denver, Colorado.

To limit person-to-person interaction, delivery drivers are encouraged to drop-off food deliveries at a customer’s front door, or in the lobby of their building. The goal is to maintain a distance of at least 6 feet from one another during the delivery transaction. 

How to keep your delivery drivers safe, from Pinnacol.

Insurance Considerations for Takeout and Delivery

Businesses should also review their current insurance coverage to ensure that they are covered for “hired non-owned auto policies” if they are going to be conducting their deliveries with their staff as opposed to using a third party delivery service. 

The Colorado Division of Insurance (DOI) took action to protect Colorado insurance consumers and reduce insurance delays for restaurants and workers during the COVID-19 public health emergency.

Our partners at Crest Restaurant Insurance explain: The State changed 2 pertinent coverage exclusions for Delivery Drivers:

  • The regulation removes the “commercial use” exclusion in a personal automobile policy. This essentially requires that personal automobile polices cannot exclude claims arising from commercial use of the vehicle.
  • The regulation removes the “unnamed driver” exclusion in a commercial automobile policy. This essentially makes any driver covered on a Hired/Non-owned policy.

This regulation expands coverage for individuals and restaurants who are adequately insured and acting in the course of employment/business operations.  

  • Please note these expanded conditions ONLY apply for employees whose job description did not include food delivery prior to March 17, 2020.
  • The commercial use (PL) and excluded driver (CL) exclusions would still be applicable if a driver was employed as a driver prior to March 17, 2020.
  • Restaurants still need Hired/Non-owned liability coverage if they are directly (or through a third-party) delivering food. Consider the State minimum for auto liability for licensed drivers is $25,000/$50,000. We still believe that business operators would be named in a bodily injury/property damage occurrence. Their H/NO policy is where they would be afforded defense coverage.


CDPHE provisions guidance

Free COVID Legal Help

Denver-based law firm Messner Reeves is offering each Colorado restaurant up to four (4) hours of pro bono legal services to address issues arising from the pandemic. This offer is available to all Colorado-based and Colorado-located restaurants, and the only requirement is that your legal issue beCOVID-19-related. Areas of assistance include: 

  • Landlord/Tenant negotiations and lease review;
  • CARES Act/SBA Funding (PPP and EIDL loan applications, forgiveness and other issues surrounding the programs);
  • Vendor negotiations;
  • Policies & Procedures including employee and customer health, food safety, and other compliance requirements;
  • and more. 

To access this assistance, send an email succinctly stating what your issue is to 


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