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Blurring the Lines: When 'Open for Business' Varies by City, State Amid COVID-19

Major cities across the country are extending – or in some cases – making permanent the temporary outdoor dining programs put in place to help bars and restaurants stay float during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.


In September, the Centennial State amended its safer-at-home orders to allow bars and restaurants located in counties under lesser COVID restrictions to serve alcohol later than those in counties with higher restrictions.1 And in the City and County of Denver, specifically, the ordinance allowing bars and restaurants to expand outdoors, which was set to expire on Oct. 31, is now in effect through October 2021.2


New York City Mayor, Bill de Blasio, recently made the Open Restaurants and Open Streets initiatives permanent and permittable year-round.In an interview with a local National Public Radio station, he encouraged restaurants to adopt the model and make it part of the life of the city for years to come. As colder weather grows nearer, electric heaters and propane and natural gas heaters are allowed in select spots throughout the city.


Florida lifted almost all of its COVID-related capacity restrictions on state-wide restaurants in late September, as the state entered into the third and final phase of its reopening plan.4 In this phase, bars are now permitted to exceed the former 50 percent capacity limit, so long as they receive the “green light” from local governments.


So, while “open for business” varies in meaning across state lines and through city limits, the ever-mounting competition between restaurants and bars and liquor, convenience and grocery stores who sell alcohol wages on. If you’re using this time to emphasize employee compliance with lawful selling techniques for alcohol, and even tobacco, contact The BARS Program at 1-877-540-5500, or visit for more information. We’re here for you.



ColoradoanCOVID-19: Colorado Gov. Jared Polis updates last call rules, extends safer-at-home order

2Fox-31 Denver, Denver extends temporary outdoor dining program until October of next year

Restaurant HospitalityNew York City to make outdoor restaurant dining permanent

CNN, Florida governor signs order clearing restaurants and bars to fully open

Herald-Tribune, DeSantis OKs state moving into Phase 3 of reopening, lifting most limits

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