The State of Colorado has issued guidelines for the number of occupants and employees who can safely be in a business at any one time during the COVID-19 pandemic. This maximum occupancy is based on a percentage of the normal occupant load (prior to COVID-19).
Restaurant owners have two options to determine maximum number of patrons. See information below under “Special Provisions for Restaurants, Taprooms, Breweries, Bars, Etc.” Taprooms, bars, breweries, wineries and distilleries can open if they serve food.
It is the responsibility of the business owners to know their maximum occupancy and ensure it is not exceeded at any time.
How do I Determine My Maximum Number of Occupants?
If your business was issued an Occupant Load sign by LFRA in the past, you can simply use that number to determine your COVID-19 occupancy cap. For example, if your Occupant Load sign shows 88 and you’re allowed 50 percent occupancy, your COVID-19 maximum is 44, provided 6-foot distancing can be maintained.
For those who do not have an Occupant Load sign, Larimer County is allowing a simplified method to determine occupant load during the COVID-19 pandemic, to enable business owners to determine their maximum occupant load. Maximum occupant load includes customers and employees.
How do I Calculate my COVID-19 Occupant Load?
- The occupant load is based on the use of the building or business, such as restaurants, retail, personal services, gyms, etc.
- Determine the estimated square footage of your business by multiplying the length of the space by the width of the space (in feet).
- From the list below, choose which category on the left is most like your business.
- Divide the square footage of your business, by the “Occupant Load Factor” on the right. This is an estimate of your normal occupant load.
- Take this occupant load number and divide it by 2. This is the state-specified “50% of the occupant load” and the maximum number of patrons and employees you can have in your business at any one time.
- Restaurant owners have two options: 50% or 30%. See details below to help you determine which method you want to use.
Yoga studio, 80 feet wide by 50 feet long = 4,000 square feet
Occupant load factor is 50 (Gym/Exercise, from chart), so 4,000 divided by 50 = 80, approximate normal occupant load
80 divided by 2 = 40. This is the 50% of maximum occupant load allowed during COVID-19
Pet products store, 60 feet wide by 60 feet long = 3,600 SF
Occupant load factor is 30 (Retail, from chart), so 3,600 divided by 30 = 120, approximate normal occupant load
120 divided by 2 = 60. This is the 50% of maximum occupant load allowed during COVID-19
NOTE THAT STATE AND COUNTY GUIDELINES MAY HAVE OTHER PROVISIONS THAT FURTHER LIMIT THE NUMBER OF OCCUPANTS IN A BUILDING. THE STATE SAFER-AT-HOME GUIDELINES ARE HERE:
State of Colorado: https://covid19.colorado.gov/safer-at-home-faq
Larimer County: https://www.larimer.org/health/communicable-disease/coronavirus-covid-19/safer-at-home
Special Provisions for Restaurants, Taprooms, Breweries, Bars, Etc.
In each indoor space, in order to achieve 6-foot social distancing, there are two choices. All restaurants must select one of the following two choices are:
- 50% of the total occupancy of the establishment may be provided as indoor seating and 50% outside seating, with a maximum of 50 people inside. Patrons in different parties must be a minimum of 6 feet apart. The spacing of tables may need to be 6 feet or more to ensure proper physical distancing between diners from different parties.
- 30% of the total maximum occupancy of the establishment may be provided as indoor seating with a maximum of 175 patrons indoors. Up to 60% of the maximum occupancy may be provided if the additional seating is in an unenclosed outdoor space. No more than 60% of the maximum occupancy is allowed (30% indoors, 30% outdoors). All indoor and outdoor seating tables must be placed at least 6 feet apart.
- Alternatively, all 60% of the occupant load may be outdoors, but no more than 60% of the total occupant load is allowed.
NOTE THAT STATE AND COUNTY GUIDELINES MAY HAVE OTHER PROVISIONS THAT FURTHER LIMIT THE NUMBER OF OCCUPANTS IN A RESTAURANT OR RELATED BUSINESS. READ THE STATE RESTAURANT GUIDELINES HERE.
How do I Expand my Patio of Outdoor Seating?
Each of the three municipalities LFRA serves – City of Loveland, Town of Johnstown and Larimer County – have developed processes for creating or expanding outdoor seating space. Information about those processes can be found here:
IF YOU DON’T HAVE AN EXISTING OCCUPANT LOAD SIGN AND ARE UNABLE TO CALCULATE YOUR COVID OCCUPANT LOAD, CONTACT LOVELAND FIRE RESCUE AUTHORITY AT Eplan-Fire@LFRA.org or 970-962-2537.