Governor Polis provides update on state response to COVID-19, discusses support for local restaurants

DENVER – Governor Jared Polis today provided an update on Colorado’s response to COVID-19 and discussed ways to support local restaurants during this challenging time. 

“Coloradans are very alarmed by the increased number of very sick people coming into hospitals and know that we must do better with the basics like reducing the number of people we are with, washing our hands, avoiding crowds, and wearing a mask,” said Governor Jared Polis. “Prior to serving as governor, I built businesses and know that our economic health is inherently tied to our public health. We know that when our restaurants thrive and consumer confidence increases, our agriculture industry and supply chain benefits. The better we do at suppressing this virus and finding creative solutions for safer outdoor dining, the more we can support small businesses, like our restaurants, and keep building back our economy stronger than before.” 

Colorado last week recorded more than 1,000 cases of COVID-19 in one 24-hour period, the most since March. Today the state saw another day with more than 1,000 cases and alarmingly the positivity rate is above 5%. On September 4, there were 132 confirmed COVID-19 hospitalizations in the state and on October 12 there were 288. 

The Governor was joined today by Sonia Riggs, President and CEO of the Colorado Restaurant Association, Aileen Reilly, owner of Beast + Bottle and Coperta, and Alice Jackson, President of Xcel Energy Colorado to discuss the impacts COVID-19 has had on the restaurant industry and what Coloradans can do to support local restaurants. Reilly discussed how her company is working to keep customers and workers safe and overcome challenges posed by the pandemic. Gov. Polis also joined Reilly in support of the federal Restaurant Act to provide assistance to the industry.  

Xcel Energy Foundation and Xcel Energy today announced that they will be committing an initial $500,000 to the Colorado Restaurant Association Foundation to help support local restaurants through the winter season. In addition to this donation, they are also committing to matching donations of $50,000, up to an additional $250,000, for every $500,000 that’s raised for the Colorado COVID Relief Fund. That’s a possible total contribution of $750,000 from the Xcel Energy Foundation and Xcel Energy. This is one of the single largest gifts the company has made in their history.

“We are proud to be part of the Colorado community, and we are committed to helping our state recover from the economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Alice Jackson, president of Xcel Energy — Colorado. “Restaurants are part of what makes Colorado a special place to live, work, and visit. We thank Governor Polis for his leadership to aid Colorado’s recovery and we are proud to support this effort to ensure restaurants can continue to safely serve their customers through the winter months.”

Governor Polis also announced that on October 19, there will be a virtual convening of architects, contractors, engineers, local public health and government officials, and restaurant leaders to discuss ways to creatively continue to provide an outdoor dining experience this winter. Restaurants have been creative in finding ways to create outdoor dining spaces over the last seven months. That’s why Governor Polis today encouraged city leaders and local government officials to begin thinking about ways to sustain safe outdoor dining throughout the winter months by utilizing things like fire pits, space heaters, and tenting. The Governor also applauded the municipalities who have already taken steps to help restaurants during this challenging time. 

Coloradans can support their favorite restaurants by continuing to dine with them and also by donating at COOutdoorDining.org

View the news conference on the governor’s Facebook page

Governor Polis provides update on state response to COVID-19, discusses support for local restaurants