COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KRDO) -- Colorado Springs bars and restaurants tell us the move to the less restrictive Level Yellow on the COVID-19 Dial is not providing the boost to businesses many hoped it would.
The move from Level Orange to Level Yellow means that restaurants can increase their indoor seating capacity from 25% to 50%, which also means that closing time moves from 10:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m.
Although, due to the social distancing policies, the change won't allow many restaurants to seat too many more people.
"Unfortunately, it is really only adding about 12 seats," Jill Kolman, co-owner of Mother Muff's in Old Colorado City, said. "We are not at 50% we are at about 30% of our capacity."
The extra hour of operation doesn't make much of a difference either for Mother Muff's.
Their staff is still working on shortened shifts. Their full-time staff is only working three days a week with capacity restrictions.
Mother Muff's added outdoor seating in the street next to their restaurant, but it's a little too cold for them to get much business from that additional seating.
"It's great having those extra 40 seats, but if nobody wants to sit in them. It makes it very difficult," Kolman said.
Jax Fish House and Oyster Bar in downtown Colorado Springs is facing similar issues.
Jax General Manager Johnathan Shankland said their restaurant actually got approved for the Five Star Program on Monday. That means their restaurant gets to move one level ahead of the rest of the county, into the Blue Level. Although even moving up into Blue only allows for more people overall in a restaurant, capacity remains at 50%.
Jax Fish House and Oyster Bar is a fairly small location. Moving from 25% to 50% capacity doesn't actually allow them to open up any more tables inside, it just means they don't need to count each person who enters their restaurant.
Despite few changes to their actual operations, Shankland counts this move to the next level as good news.
"I think we're headed in the right direction. I'm very, I'm very hopeful that we're headed in the right direction. I'm very hopeful that by the time the weather gets a little bit warmer, we'll, of course, have more demand for outdoor seating," he said.
With a few nice days in the last couple of weeks, Shankland said demand for outdoor seating is already increasing, enough that they hired a few more staff members.
As they wait for guidance that would allow them to substantially increase the number of people they serve, Shankland is staying optimistic.
"Be safe, be smart. We're all going to get through this together if we get through it together. So, just try to come together and do the right thing and hold on just a little bit longer. We're almost there," Shankland said.
If you want more information about the new COVID-19 Dial or what each level means, click here.