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

Your Very Big Guide to when things will reopen in these pandemic times.
6 min. read
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 were 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 5

?Parks began to reopen, with social distancing requirements.

June 17

?The city granted variances to certain industries.

  • Museums may operate at 50 percent occupancy with up to 50 people per room and not to exceed 125 people in an outdoor space. Museums can open under this variance after submitting their reopening plan to the city for review and approval
  • Restaurants may operate at 50 percent occupancy with up to 50 people in a confined indoor space (as opposed to the Safer at Home statewide limitation of 50 people for the entire restaurant)
  • Gyms, recreation centers and indoor pools may operate at 50 percent occupancy with up to 50 people in a confined space

June 19

?Bars can reopen with certain restrictions, and certain indoor events will be allowed.

June 20

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

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?

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.


Most 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. History Colorado announced it will reopen on June 22, and the Denver Museum of Nature & Science will reopen June 23. MCA Denver will open July 1.

Movie theaters

Regal Theatres is so far the only large theater chain to announce its opening date (July 10). Regal owns at least nine theaters in the Denver area.

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.


Some gyms have started reopening with limits to guest numbers.

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.

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