Restaurants and retail: Plan now for fall and winter

By Mary Jo Coulehan
Pagosa Springs Area
Chamber of Commerce

With COVID-19 cases still occurring, there is good chance that restrictions will not be lifted much in the upcoming months. Restaurants and retail, who have had to make significant changes to their businesses, should be prepared to continue operating with these adjustments. 

As the weather cools down and outdoor seating becomes scarcer, restaurants should be planning their indoor seating capacity and waiting areas. The Town of Pagosa Springs Planning Department will be looking at temporary variances to accommodate outdoor winter waiting and seating capacities. Just like in the summer, when restaurants were able to put up tents, expand into parking lot areas and modify signage. 

The town will look at variances for the winter months as well, should alternative arrangements be necessary. This includes areas for seating, tents and adjustments to deflect snow loads so that outdoor seating and waiting areas can be accommodated. The business needs to draw up a plan and present the variance to the town on how the tents or areas will be kept clear of snow and can accommodate exits and social distancing. Other businesses may also need waiting areas and can submit a variance plan to the town for their review. 

Businesses should not wait until the weather has turned and it is too cold to work or too late to make any temporary modifications. Start planning now and submit your temporary plan to the town’s Planning Department. 

Modified Chamber hours

Due to reduced staffing levels, the Chamber offices will need to adjust its hours when we are open to the public. We are proud to say that we have been open our regular hours 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday even through the pandemic and even with reduced staffing. However, with no events in our near future, we have had to make even more cuts. 

Our offices will still be open Monday through Friday, but instead of closing at 5 p.m., our offices will now close at 4 p.m. Staff may still be on hand after 4 p.m., but due to the inconsistency of availability, lunches and meeting schedules, the public should just plan for the offices to only be open until 4 p.m. 

Should you need anything special after that time, please contact us and we will try and make arrangements to accommodate you. Remember that the Chamber offices are still open for copies, bulk mailing and pick up of masks and posters, as well as membership or business consultations. 

To facilitate less contact, if you have a printing job, just email Rick Artis, membership coordinator, at info@pagosachamber.com with your project and instructions. We can have your job ready for you for easy pick up. We can arrange business consultations and assistance during this difficult time at the Chamber or at your place of business. If you have questions concerning your business future, schedule an appointment with Mary Jo at 264-2360. 

This story was posted on August 22, 2020.