You can eat the streets and sidewalks of Denver for at least another year
What if we had nice things even in the absence of a pandemic?
Denverites can enjoy food and drink on the streets and sidewalks for a while. At a press conference on Wednesday, Mayor Hancock announced that the city would extend its temporary outdoor expansion program for restaurants and bars.
The program, which has allowed some companies to expand their outdoor seating in sidewalks, parking lots and streets since May 2020, was due to expire in October this year. Hancock said it will now operate at least until October 2022.
Since the start of the pandemic, restaurants have struggled to keep their businesses afloat while meeting capacity restriction requirements set by the city. The expansion program allowed businesses to increase seating capacity while maintaining the physical distance between tables. This has been a bit of a lifeline for many restaurants that couldn’t come close to the capacity inside.
The program has also made neighborhoods in Denver more welcoming to pedestrians. Some city blocks have been completely closed to cars since restaurants were allowed to expand into the public right-of-way, extending their patios into streets and sidewalks. Larimer Square, for example, has been closed to cars for a year, as has the street in front of Zeppelin Station and parts of Larimer Street.
More than 300 restaurants have been approved for exterior expansions, according to data provided by the City and County of Denver. Approved expansions on private property must be renewed every 120 days, depending on the city, and those in public right-of-way must be renewed every 90 days.