With very little warning time, Governor Jared Polis handed down a second “phase one” order for breweries, nightclubs and bars. On Tuesday, June 30th, Governor Polis re-enacted the initial plan for the state, in which bars and establishments that serve alcohol but do not serve food must return to curbside/off-premise sales only. This second round restriction comes as a result of a large spike in numbers in COVID cases across the nation.
While Colorado itself is currently experiencing a small uptick in cases, surrounding states are getting hit worse. According to conversations with other governors referenced by Gov. Polis, Arizona and Texas have had enormous spikes in their numbers, which have been mainly attributed to large parties, bars and nightclubs. The governor doesn’t want the state of Colorado, with one of the highest concentrations of breweries in the nation, to become a “mecca” for people desperate to drink at bars.
The shutdown comes just weeks after the initial re-opening phase at 50% capacity for breweries across the state. In essence, if a brewery or bar has no ability to serve food and function as a restaurant, they no longer have the ability to seat people inside. The last few weeks were a nice reprieve for the small business owners affected by the initial shutdown, and now they must all rally once more to fight through a second closure.
Currently, restrictions on what containers alcohol can be sold in are very lax in order to keep small businesses afloat. Perhaps there will be more relaxation on its way, as the ability to ship beer to consumers across state lines would be a huge benefit to breweries who do not currently distribute beyond the capacity of their own means. Whatever comes next, it would appear as though we are about to start riding the second wave as a nation, and if we don’t start abiding by health guidelines more strictly, we may very well be forced to continue living under heavy restrictions until a widespread vaccine becomes readily available.