COLORADO SPRINGS, Colorado — New restrictions are in place on businesses in El Paso County as the community has moved to Level Red on the State of Colorado COVID-19 Dial. These changes place a bigger burden on bars, restaurants, and gyms.
Bars that do not serve food must close. Those that serve food must stop serving alcohol at 8:00 p.m.
Indoor dining at restaurants is prohibited. Restaurants will have to rely on take-out, delivery, and patio dining until the dial is relaxed.
Gyms and fitness centers can stay open. However, they must reduce their capacity to 10 percent or 10 people per room. Outdoor exercise classes must also limit capacity to fewer than 10 people.
Local owners and managers say buying gift cards, ordering carry-out and delivery, and signing up for virtual exercise classes can help.
"Supporting local restaurants during this time has never been more important," said Randy Price who owns the Urban Egg and Salsa Brava Restaurants in Colorado Springs.
He's limiting the hours at his restaurants; Urban Egg locations will be open from 8:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. and closed on Tuesdays. Salsa Brava locations will be open from 2:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. and closed on Sundays and Mondays.
Price said he wants to keep as many of his employees working as possible.
"We're staying positive, we're communicating with our team, we're doing as much as we can for our staff to help them get through this so that we can come out on the other side of this stronger," he said.
They're also watching the forecast closely and plan to open the patio for outdoor dining any day when the temperature reaches above 50 degrees Fahrenheit.
"We just started our gift card campaign, we've got a buy $100 in gift cards, get $20 free," he said. "We're not going anywhere, we're going to be here when this is over."
At Life Time Fitness, General Manager Brian Chuckran said they're adapting to the new restrictions. The stricter capacity limits are the biggest challenge.
"We're fortunate enough that we have large enough facility that we've been able to maintain some proper social distancing," he said. "Reservations are going to be required now, which will help the limited capacity."
He points out that regular exercise is good for both physical and mental health. They want to be open to support their members during a stressful time. They're offering Black Friday discounts on new virtual fitness classes.
"Those that want to stay healthy at home and still be a part of our community, that's an amazing opportunity to still stay active," Chuckran said.
Retailers are required to limit capacity inside their stores at 50 percent under the Level Red restrictions.
Customers looking to support local businesses and artists can use the Manitou Springs Creative District's new e-commerce website mantioumade.com.
In Colorado Springs, the Downtown Partnership offers the Downtown Gift Card which is accepted at more than 100 stores, restaurants, salons, and venues in the district.
Visit the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment's COVID-19 Dial for more detailed information on restrictions and capacity limits.