This spring you could be enjoying dinner and wine outside in downtown Cortez.
The Cortez City Council recently approved a local law allowing businesses, nonprofits and others to serve food and drinks outside or near public sidewalks.
Until February, the city didn’t have a law regulating outdoor dining.
“It’s just something we hadn’t really considered before, at least to my knowledge,” said City Manager Shane Hale.
Applications will be considered on a case-by-case basis, and businesses will need to update their liquor licenses to reflect the change, according to the law.
The dining space must be surrounded by a barrier that allows at least 4 feet of space for pedestrians to use.
If an establishment violated any law, its liquor license could be revoked.
These regulations were modeled on Telluride’s regulations, Hale said.
Stonefish Sushi owner Brandon Shubert supports the change because it will help downtown seem more active. But it could be more difficult for him and other business owners along U.S. Highway 160 to take advantage of the law because these sidewalks are regulated by the Colorado Department of Transportation.
However, organizations just off Main Street like the Cortez Cultural Center on North Market could benefit more immediately, said Mayor Karen Sheek.
The change was requested by KSDJ director Jeff Pope. The radio station opened the Sunflower Theatre on Main Street in 2015.