Three Immediate Steps to Take Today for Restaurants and Bars

Mayor Michael B. Hancock announced the closure of all restaurants and bars, except airport concessioners, to onsite seating, effective 8 a.m. on Tuesday, March 17, for eight weeks until May 11 due to COVID-19. Shortly after, Governor Polis ordered bars and restaurants to follow suit for the next 30 days (estimated April 16).

As such, dining rooms are closed, but delivery, carry-out, and drive-through services are currently permitted and highly encouraged. For restaurants, manufacturers, brewpubs, distillery pubs, and vintner’s restaurants, please work with your retail liquor store partners to facilitate the delivery of alcohol products in compliance with Colorado liquor code. If your current establishment already allows for the production of food, you may continue delivery, carry-out, and curbside offerings.

Some restaurants and bars can immediately pivot towards delivery and takeout services. If you are considering retooling your offering and have questions regarding delivery service engagements, liquor license questions, or general food and beverage industry-specific questions, please reach out to our Brewing & Distilling and Food and Beverage Practice Groups.

Three steps that we recommend restaurant and bars take immediately to address this temporary closure are:

  1. Check internally. Assess the direction you can and want to take your business. If you determine you want to offer take-out, delivery, or curbside food services, communicate with your staff regarding the decision, continue to execute rigorous cleaning methods, and implement a regimented cautious social distancing in your takeout and curbside order procedures.
  2. Launch externally. Retool website and call line to accept online orders and deliveries. Publish to the public regarding ordering and delivery services. 
  3. Continue Vigilance. Continue to check resources for hourly updates and check in with your staff during this unique time.


Business Considerations:
Insurance – Now is a good time to check in with your insurance carrier to see what may be covered by the current pandemic. This includes reviewing your business liability and business interruption insurance, short term disability insurance, and medical insurance for unpaid leaves. Each insurance carrier and policy is different, so please reach out to our Insurance Practice Group if you have any questions.

Employment – 

Leases – Be sure to review and understand your lease and obligations under the lease, especially during this time. If you have any questions regarding your lease obligations, please reach out to our Real Estate Practice Group.  

Bank Relationships – Consider reaching out to your bank to examine options for capital infusion with your bank. However, be sure to read ALL loan agreements and contact our Financial Services Group for any questions.

We will continue to provide more education and resources. Please reach out if you have specific topics or questions during this time. 

This article was originally published in ColoradoBiz Magazine.


Moye White