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Survey: 56% Of Colorado Restaurants Might Close In Less Than 3 Months

(CBS4) - If you are in the restaurant business, right now the future seems dire. The Colorado Restaurant Association released findings from a survey they conducted between June 1 and June 9. The association surveyed more than 220 restaurant operators on capacity limits following the coronavirus pandemic.

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"We heard some pretty startling information," said Sonia Riggs, the President of the Colorado Restaurant Association.

Results show eight out of 10 restaurants are operating below 50% capacity for indoor dining. There is a 50 person limit, according to official guidelines. At the current capacity limits, 56% of surveyed restaurants say they will consider closing permanently in less than three months.

Seven percent of restaurants say they will consider closing in less than a month.

"Seventy-five percent was really the threshold that restaurants need to be at in order to survive for some time," said Riggs.

Questions about whether there would be enough customers to fill demand seem to be moot. More than half of restaurants, 66%, say they are either turning people away or forcing them to wait. Nearly a third, 32%, are turning away more than 50% of their normal capacity.

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The customers who are getting into restaurants are majorly following social distancing guidelines; 88% of restaurants offering dine-in service say customers are abiding by guidelines; 72% say customers are wearing face masks.

LINKS: CRA COVID-19 Restaurant Impact Survey | Reopening Guidelines

Ninety percent of restaurants say their municipality has expanded outdoor seating options. One of those restaurants is So Radish in Olde Town Arvada.

They expanded their patio service Friday night and so far it has helped.

"Our capacity has pretty much doubled just having an extended patio open," said General Manager Audrey Potter.

They are in the minority. Only 27% of restaurants have been able to offer outdoor seating. The Colorado Restaurant Association hopes Gov. Jared Polis will take action soon to help restaurants out that aren't as lucky.

"We're asking for the governor to lift the 50 person capacity and instead focus on social distancing. So especially those restaurants that have larger capacities they can very safely expand to six feet between parties and be able to accommodate a much larger number of people safely," said Riggs.

The Colorado Restaurant Association says if something isn't done soon, results will be catastrophic.

"I think we are going to see a lot of restaurants go out of business permanently, and that's the really scary thing about this," Riggs said.

On Tuesday, the city of Denver told CBS4 they asked the state to increase restaurant capacity guidelines.

RELATED: Olde Town Arvada Shutting Down Streets To Give Restaurants More Room For Outdoor Dining 

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