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COVID In Denver: Restaurants Face Citations After Trying To Get Creative With Dining Options During Level Red Restrictions

DENVER (CBS4)- With Denver now under COVID-19 Level Red restrictions, indoor dining at restaurants is forbidden. That leaves carryout, delivery or outdoor dining options. Monday was a beautiful day for dining outside in December, but many restaurants have gone to great lengths to accommodate customers when the weather isn't so nice by putting up tents or other shelters outside.

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Pauline Connor was in Denver's Uptown neighborhood Monday with a friend at a restaurant, dining outdoors.

"Well, I think they are trying to be safe. This pandemic is nothing we've ever experienced," she said.

But nearby, the Pho and Bar and others have been temporarily shut down by the City of Denver. It was done in part for failure to have two non-adjacent openings for ventilation in their outdoor enclosures.

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Kathy Loeber was also at a nearby restaurant where she told CBS4: "I'm not comfortable with the indoors and I'm not comfortable in an outdoor tent covered on all sides."

La Jaula, a sports-themed restaurant on West Mississippi Avenue, had a tented outdoor patio but was deemed "indoor" by the Denver Department of Public Health and Environment due to lack of ventilation.

"An outdoor structure, even if temporary, if fully enclosed with a roof -- you might as well be indoors," said Tristan Sanders with the City of Denver.

Any type of wall that restricts aerosols is evaluated. True Food Kitchen in Cherry Creek North was issued a citation because flaps were closed.

"I think it's tough, I don't know what proper ventilation is. Obviously, somebody decided that that wasn't proper," said outdoor diner Bill Porter.

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What the Pho restaurant at 16th Street and Champa Street downtown was shut down for was allowing people to eat not inside their restaurant, but in the building lobby.

All the shutdowns are deemed temporary until the problems are remedied. The action comes with a citation that carries a court appearance and a fine of up to $1,000. CBS4 attempted to reach the restaurants cited, but did not hear back by the time of publication.

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