Is Denver open? Yes and no. Here’s what to know.

Your Very Big Guide to when things will reopen in these pandemic times.

Lakeside Amusement Park, Aug. 25, 2018. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

Lakeside Amusement Park, Aug. 25, 2018. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)


If you feel like every day you lose more of your grip on reality and things you could otherwise control, I feel you. Approaching what will be the weirdest summer any of us have had in a longtime, maybe ever, will do that to you!

To put a little more order in your life and, as always, keep you up to date on the latest news, we created this handy list of when different things will open — that is, if they plan to open — and what business will look like once they do. We’ll keep updating this list as we find more information, including important announcements from the city and state.

May 2

🍎 Farmers’ markets, considered essential businesses, were allowed to open.

May 6

😷 Denver enacted a public health order requiring residents to wear masks while in public. Violators face a steep fine and jail time. The face mask order does not have an end date.

May 9

💅 Denver transitioned from stay-at-home orders to the safer-at-home phase of COVID-19 recovery. Some businesses, including non-critical retail; “personal services,” like nail and hair salons, tattoo parlors and animal groomers; non-critical offices; and real estate showings were allowed to open or resume at a limited capacity (see the full guidelines for businesses here).

🐶 Adoptions also resumed May 9. In-shelter adoptions are allowed daily from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., and virtual adoptions will be allowed Tuesdays through Saturdays from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. To adopt in-person at the shelter, call 720-337-1810 upon arrival.

May 15

🚗💨 Vehicle emissions tests resume, at the AirCare Colorado location in southeast Denver, 10190 E. Warren Ave.

June 1

🏠 Evictions can resume in Colorado. Gov. Polis put a moratorium on evictions April and May.

Also, the city has aligned with a state ordinance that expires June 1 that state that all public and private gatherings are limited to ten people. The order could be extended: “The city will continue monitoring State guidance for additional updates to these protocols,” city spokesperson Erika R. Martinez wrote Denverite in an email. 

And, summer camps around the state will be allowed to start June 1 if they follow certain guidelines. All in-person Denver Public School summer programs were canceled, and district buildings are closed to the public through July.

June 15

🚨 Denver’s state of emergency lifts. The order, which has been extended several times, makes Denver eligible for federal aid and lets the city spend money on emergency necessities like housing for the homeless and PPE.

June 20

🌈 The Denver PrideFest will begin, covering two days. Festivities will be entirely online.

June 24

🎸 The date of the first rescheduled concert organized by Live Nation, one of the largest promoters in Denver that manages bookings at the Paramount, Fillmore and other venues. Billy Raffoul is scheduled to play at the Marquis Theater.

July 10

🎹 The first rescheduled concert from AEG, one of the largest promoters in town, is slated to be that evening. Bear Grillz will perform at the Mission Ballroom. AEG manages shows at the Mission, Ogden Theater, the Bluebird Theater, Red Rocks and more.

July 25

🖥 The Underground Music Showcase won’t happen in person this year. But all is not lost: Organizers are still working on what to do that weekend, hinting at an online festival and fundraiser.

September 14

🏈The Broncos’ opening game, against the Tennessee Titans, is scheduled to air on ESPN starting at 8:10 p.m. The team’s schedule announcement doesn’t indicate whether the game will — or will not — have a live audience, but the front office does have a plan for its season ticket holders in case games have to be played without fans or canceled that includes the option of receiving a refund or credit toward a future game.

When will these things open?

Parks and rec centers

Playgrounds, skate parks, bike parks, basketball courts, tennis courts, picnic areas, dog parks and “similar spaces” remain closed with no signs of reopening any time soon; golf courses are open with certain restrictions. Parks are open to solitary rec activities, like walking, running and biking. Social distancing must be practiced, though you don’t have to wear a mask. Rec centers are closed.

Restaurants, bars and breweries

Restaurants and breweries can host in-person dining in a limited capacity and by following certain guidelines, including keeping tables six feet apart and restricting the number of guests. Restaurants and breweries are applying to the city’s space-expansion program, which would allow them to move into their street fronts and parking lots to accommodate social distancing requirements. As of May 27 only one restaurant had been approved.

The Downtown Denver Partnership has proposed closing some streets to allow restaurants and other businesses to operate with social distancing in mind.


All large cultural institutions in Denver continue to be closed, however they could open in early summer with certain restrictions, like limiting how many people can be inside the building at once.

Amusement parks

Both Lakeside and Elitch Gardens have postponed their opening days. Both are waiting for more guidance from industry groups and the state before they announce new open dates. Water World won’t reopen in 2020.


The city hasn’t determined when to reopen libraries, but, in true librarian fashion, the system’s website has a very helpful guide on how to manage any books you have checked out or want to check out.


The city has yet to determine when gyms will be allowed to reopen.

NBA, MLB games

Major League Baseball’s opening day should have been March 26, and the Rockies should have played their first home game of the season April 3. Obviously none of that happened, and the team has issued guidance for ticket holders of April and May games.

MLB owners agreed on May 11 to start the season around July 4; games would be played without fans. The owners still need to negotiate that plan with the players’ union.

Nuggets games, like all NBA games, are postponed (if you’ll recall, the league canceling its season was one of the first indicators of the severity of the COVID-19 crisis). On May 12, the Denver Post reported that some players have returned for individual workouts, signs of life for the 2020 season.

Denver Center for the Performing Arts

On May 28, The Know reported the DCPA will cancel its entire 2020-2021 season, which extends into June of next year.

Thanks for reading another Denverite story

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Denverite members have made the decision to financially support local journalism that matters to you. Ready to tell your networks why? Sharing our “About” page with your own personal comments could really help us out.