Coronavirus updates in Denver from March 16: news you can use and slices of life in these weird times

It’s like your Twitter feed right now but with fewer trolls and more news.
4 min. read
Julian Rai gingerly opens the door after grabbing a Grubhub order at Ice Cream Riot in Capitol Hill. March 13, 2020. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

If you, like us, feel like you're drinking news out of a fire hose lately, we're here to help. Starting today, we're going to maintain a liveblog about coronavirus in Denver.

But we promise it won't be all serious.

This liveblog will carry important updates from city officials, but also snippets of things we're seeing around town from a safe social distance of 6 feet. Think of this as your verified COVID-19 Denver Twitter feed, but with all facts, no trolls and info that'll be useful, make you think, or put you at ease.

6:33 p.m. Denver City Council extends Denver's state of emergency through May 11

The legislative body voted 9-0 to add two months to Mayor Michael Hancock's original emergency declaration, which expires March 18.

The declaration makes more resources available to aid Denver's emergency response to the new coronavirus, according to the city's COVID-19 joint information center.

The declaration doesn't make specific resources available but opens the door to more state and federal resources if and when the city needs them. It also gives the government the power to do things like shut down bars and restaurants for eight weeks.

3:47 p.m. Here's where you can donate cleaning supplies and masks, per the city

Residents who wish to donate cleaning supplies or masks can drop them off at La Alma Lincoln Park, 1325 W 11th Ave, Denver, CO 80204 and Martin Luther King, Jr. Recreation Centers 3880 Newport St, Denver, CO 80207 from 1 - 4 p.m. Monday-Friday.

3:45 p.m. Tycho Sachs is OVER IT.

2:52 p.m. Restaurant owners start dealing with the fallout of no dine-in customers for eight weeks

Cap City Tavern owner Dino McTaggart looked a bit distraught on Monday inside his restaurant on Bannock Street in the city's Golden Triangle neighborhood.

It was only about an hour after Mayor Michael Hancock announced bars and restaurants like McTaggart's would be closing for eight weeks starting tomorrow due to the coronavirus outbreak. McTaggart said he would try to keep his business open to fill delivery orders, which will still be allowed under the new rules. He was also considering closing up shop for the time being.

"Everything changes every hour it seems like," McTaggart said.

On top of dealing with a potential closure, and the impacts on his employees, McTaggart said he was dealing with an insurance company to figure out whether the outbreak qualified as a loss of income due to damage.

The stipulation in his insurance policy would help cover fixed costs due to unforeseen incidents. His insurance said this situation doesn't qualify because it doesn't consider the impact to his business as "damage." He said other restaurant owners are facing similar challenges.

"Did somebody drive through the front of my restaurant? No, it's a virus," McTaggart said.

He's pessimistic about take-out sales, saying he usually makes about $2,000 to $3,000 a day, compared to a few hundred dollars in take-out orders. Still, he said he will try to make such sales over the next 48 hours.

"It's a catch-22 every way you look at it."

-Esteban Hernandez

2:47 p.m. The Denver Zoo will close indefinitely starting at 4 p.m.

From a zoo statement:

"Based on updated guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the State of Colorado restricting public gatherings of 50 or more people, Denver Zoo will close to the public at 4 p.m. today. All scheduled events and programs, including spring break camps, Up-Close Animal Encounters and community outreach programs, will be canceled or rescheduled to a later date. The Zoo will continue to assess the situation, and reopen and resume normal operations at the appropriate time."

11:35 a.m. Bars and restaurants will close in Denver, save for takeout

New restrictions on restaurants and bars have been implemented in Denver to mitigate the spread of the novel coronavirus.

Starting Tuesday, bars will be closed for eight weeks, and restaurants will be closed for in-person dining, staying open for takeout and drive-thru orders.

Read the full story here.

-Esteban Hernandez and Ana Campbell

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