Chad Hotchkiss, owner of the Lakewood Mexican restaurant Jose O'Shea's, has been getting phone calls from customers asking when the restaurant will reopen. A caller asked if Jose O'Shea's would …
This item is available in full to subscribers.
If you're a print subscriber, but do not yet have an online account, click here to create one.
Click here to see your options for becoming a subscriber.
If you made a voluntary contribution in 2019-2020, but do not yet have an online account, click here to create one at no additional charge. VIP Digital Access includes access to all websites and online content.
Chad Hotchkiss, owner of the Lakewood Mexican restaurant Jose O'Shea's, has been getting phone calls from customers asking when the restaurant will reopen.
A caller asked if Jose O'Shea's would require face coverings, and Hotchkiss told her yes. The customer then told Hotchkiss she would not be going to dine-in at Jose O'Shea's.
“That's why I want to see how (the week of May 25) goes for (restaurants). There are so many who feel they don't need to wear a mask — but then you're endangering my staff and other customers,” said Hotchkiss. “It's a tough one.”
Hotchkiss chose to wait a week to open Jose O'Shea's as the restaurant continued to offer takeout and delivery, despite having a green-light from the state to offer dine-in services.
But other Lakewood restaurants opened their doors for dine-in seating for the first time in more than two months on May 27 after receiving guidance from the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment.
Restaurant employees are required to wear face coverings and must deep clean and disinfect all shared surfaces between parties, under state guidelines. Customers are strongly encouraged to take precautions while visiting a restaurant like wearing a face covering when they're not eating or drinking.
Tables must be spread out at least six feet apart, and party sizes are limited to eight people or fewer. Additionally, indoor dine-in service can be held at 50% of the restaurant's occupancy limit — but only a maximum of 50 people can be dining at a particular time.
Jose O'Shea's can hold 400 customers. But because of the 50-customer limit at restaurants, it won't be able to open at 50% capacity.
“We're trying to figure out how to make it work. (State guidelines are) not a one size fits all model,” said Hotchkiss. “There are too many restaurants that it doesn't make sense for everyone.”
Lakewood has put together a temporary site modification application for businesses that allow for restaurants to apply to expand outdoor seating.
One restaurant that is utilizing its parking lot for outdoor seating is Sunrise Sunset — a breakfast establishment with a location at 1424 S. Wadsworth Blvd.
Jill Hope, general manager for the restaurant, said Sunrise Sunset added 10 tables to its parking lot. Hope said her and her staff are adapting everyday and that she is ecstatic to be able to see her customers and staff again.
“What (the state) is asking of us isn't unreasonable, and it's nothing we can't take care of. I think the outside seating is a great option, and the whole time, we had people who were eating in their cars,” said Hope. “It's going to be different. Rather than just being a dine-in, we have a dine-out.”
Theodora Osei-Fordwuo, owner of African Grill and Bar in Lakewood, also expressed excitement about reopening as the restaurant has made 1% of its usual income during the pandemic, despite offering takeout.
Osei-Fordwuo, said the restaurant's space is large, and spreading tables out won't be a challenge. African Grill and Bar has a small patio and plans to gradually install additional seating outside — but Osei-Fordwuo admitted it will be a financial challenge to do so.
“If I told you I'm not nervous (about offering dine-in services), I'd be lying. But at the same time, we have bills to pay,” said Osei-Fordwuo. “We don't want to get sick, and we don't want our customers to get sick.”
Other items that may interest you
We have noticed you are using an ad blocking plugin in your browser.
The revenue we receive from our advertisers helps make this site possible. We request you whitelist our site.