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Coronavirus (COVID-19) Policies and Protocols for the Colorado Restaurant Industry

The restaurant industry is one of the most highly trained industries in matters of disease transmission and prevention. Our industry and our employees are highly regulated, and we are already utilizing proven methods to prevent the spread of disease. Currently, there is no evidence to suggest that COVID-19 can be transferred to humans through food. 

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We're sending regular digests of COVID-19 information pertinent to restaurants. Opt in to receive these emails here

Business Resources

  • Estimated Disaster Economic Injury Worksheet for Businesses: click here. Businesses should complete this form to trigger Federal Government economic disaster relief in our state. Please submit the completed form directly to John-Michael Hill at Denver’s Economic Development Office, who will forward them on Colorado’s behalf.

  • Job Attached Unemployment and the workshare program: click here.

  • Legal considerations related to COVID-19 from Messner Reeves: click here.

  • Sanitation recommendations from Auto-Chlor: click here.

Employee Resources

  • For a full list of unemployment, underemployment, and other assistance, click here.

  • Job Attached Unemployment and the workshare program: click here.

  • Basic guide to unemployment: click here

  • File for unemployment: click here

  • Colorado online application for food stamps and other various sources of assistance programs such as help with child care, cash assistance, and access to health care coverage: click here.

Emergency Dine-In Shutdown - Order Issued March 16, 2020

The State has issued an order to shutdown dine-in operations at bars and restaurants across the state, effective March 17, for 30 days. Delivery, take-out, drive-up service, walk-up service, and drive-through service still allowed. Read the details here. 

Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment Recommendations for Restaurants - Issued March 13, 2020

The role of restaurants in the COVID-19 response, action items, administrative considerations, when to close, when to reopen, and what to do if an employee test positive. Click here.

Emergency Paid Sick Leave - Rules Issued March 11, 2020

The State has issued emergency rules regarding paid sick leave for employees in the foodservice industry. Read more here, and see a sample sick leave policy from Fisher and Phillips.


State recommendations on canceling events of 250+: click here
Implications for restaurants with capacity of 250+: click here.

Local Updates


  • Guidance for restaurants with capacity of 250+: click here.


Past Statewide Member Communications on COVID-19

Statewide closure details plus emergency resources: click here
What we’re asking for at the federal, state, and local level (with caveat that this continues to evolve as we learn more): click here.
Health department recommendations for restaurants, state recommendations on canceling gatherings of 250+: click here.
Paid sick leave, how to prepare, how to communicate to guests: click here

Helpful Links

  • CDC real-time updates: click here.

  • Updates from the State of Colorado: click here

  • Colorado Department of Public Health & Environment COVID-19 Recommendations: click here.

  • COVID-19 toolkit from the National Restaurant Association: click here.

What You Can Do in Your Restaurant

  • As with all other illnesses and diseases, encourage your employees to stay home if they suspect they are sick or are showing symptoms of sickness.

  • Encourage employees to report symptoms from home and ask that they do not come in if they are feeling sick.

  • If you have an employee that has recently visited an area with an active or condensed outbreak of COVID-19, encourage them to seek testing and a medical opinion.

  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects including but not limited to tables, menus, POS systems, checkbooks, doorknobs, kitchen surfaces, restroom surfaces etc.

  • Increase hand washing. Consider implementing policies to wash hands at the top and bottom of the hour.

  • Provide 60% alcohol-based sanitizer for employees and customers.

  • Have a manager conduct a general “wellness check-in” at the start of each shift. Look for symptoms such as fever, cough, and difficulty breathing.

  • Do not exclude asymptomatic employees based on their travel history. Seek further clarification from an attorney or healthcare resource. We can refer you to one of our attorneys in our legal resource center. Give us a call at 303-830-2972.

  • There is initial testing that shows certain quat sanitizers that are not fully effective at eliminating and disinfecting COVID-19. Please call your distributor to confirm that the quat sanitizer you are using is effective against COVID-19.

  • If you need help fielding questions from the media, give us a call at 303-830-2972.

  • If you need talking points for guests, give us a call at 303-830-2972.

It is very likely that restaurateurs are already using many of these techniques in their business. Programs such as ServSafe prepare restaurant managers and employees with the necessary skills to prevent the transmission of diseases such as COVID-19.

If you are notified that a patron with transmittable COVID-19 has visited your restaurant and may have infected others, please call the CO HELP hotline at 1-877-462-2911 housed in the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment. The public health experts on the hotline will be able to offer further instructions and precautionary measures.

If you have an employee who tests positive for COVID-19, contact your local public health agency and CDPHE (303-692-2700) immediately.

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