Customers for the first time in months basked in the sunshine on the patio and settled in at tables inside Blake’s Taphouse in Broomfield on Wednesday afternoon .
“We respect everyone’s opinion and personal preference,” Erie resident Jennifer Dowling said, “but we’re ready to be back in our community and we want to be safe about it.”
Dowling, who is a neighbor of Blake’s co-owner Rob Landry, said she and her family have been regulars since the restaurant near Baseline Road and Sheridan Parkway opened in December. When the restaurant began offering curbside pickup a few weeks ago, they frequented the business along with other local eateries.
“It’s important for us to keep money in our community,” said Emmett Dowling, Jennifer’s husband.
Landry and co-owner Curtis Williams appreciate the loyalty. Blake’s Taphouse, named after Landry’s 7-year-old son, closed April 1-15, and since then has been offering takeout.About 70% of seats have been removed from inside the restaurant to comply with the state order allowing only 50% occupancy or 50 people, whichever is less.
“As a new craft taphouse that opened in December, it’s been a roller coaster for sure,” Landry said Wednesday.
Blake’s was not alone in moving tables and more this week as restaurants across Broomfield got back to serving dine-in customers. Limited to takeout and delivery options since Gov. Jared Polis on March 16 ordered a stop to dine-in services across the state, restaurants last week were given the green light to reopen with restrictions and safety measures in place.
And Broomfield, along with cities around the region, is allowing restaurants to take advantage of outdoor spaces, including parking lots, to expand their capacity. Local eateries that want to take advantage of the option need to submit a request to the city that outlines their plans. Broomfield has done its best to make the process simple and has posted a form for such requests on its website. The form is among a number of other documents and resources posted as part of the city’s business and restaurant support took kits aimed at helping businesses reopen as quickly and seamlessly as possible.
On Tuesday, City Council passed a resolution that temporarily waives the $150 local liquor license application fee for temporary modification of premises for those restaurants that want to include alcohol service in expanded outdoor seating areas. Applications still require local and state approval, but the resolution also aims to speed up the application process.
The Colorado Liquor Enforcement Division also issued an emergency resolution effective May 15 that aims to speed the process.
Restaurants last week eagerly invited customers to return. Among those customers coming back was Broomfield Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Sam Taylor who has been posting lunch photos on social media. The Chamber also is listing local businesses that are open on its website and on its Broomfield-Area Business Strong Facebook page.
Leslie Westphal, Broomfield resident and general manager of Hops N Drops Broomfield, said the restaurant shut down for about six weeks. It reopened a few weeks ago for curbside pickup and DoorDash deliveries. Staff have worked to “perfect the art of curbside delivery,” she said, including wearing masks and gloves.
Payment is taken at cars and once staff members return to the building, they remove gloves, sanitize handheld point-of-sale machines and “glove up” again.
On Tuesday Westphal and staff were busy moving tables, sitting in chairs and measuring distances around the restaurant to make sure it is complying with state orders. The restaurant also is designating one or two tables at which up to eight guests can be seated.
Westphal said she also is working with the restaurant’s landlord and Broomfield to use another outdoor area not part of the patio space for outdoor dining. Like other businesses, Hops N Drops is trying to maximize outdoor seating and encourage customers to enjoy the Colorado summer. “It’s gorgeous out,” she said.
Hops N Drops was able to bring back 90% of the team, Westphal said, and team members are excited to come back.
Since she’s always wearing a mask, she joked about anticipating more wrinkles from trying to show her smile around her eyes.
The restaurant, which opened in October, is pushing the news of its reopening on Facebook and other social media platforms.
The Omni Interlocken Hotelalso has reopened and has added a number of of safety measures including daily health screenings and temperature checks of employees, contactless check-in and repositioning lobby furniture to allow for social distancing, according to a news release.
Room keys will be disinfected and high-touch areas will be cleaned and disinfected every hour, and room service and housekeeping will deliver items to guests without contact, according to the hotel.
High foot traffic areas will be designated as one-way passages and include wider aisles wherever possible, according to the release. Physical distancing indicators will be placed on the ground at key waiting areas, such as hotel check-in, event registration, hostess stations and food lines to help attendees maintain necessary distance, the hotel stated.