Bar Max in Denver is now open after being closed for much of the pandemic. Patrons can enjoy a cocktail inside only if they provide proof of vaccination.
JIM BENEMANN: As more people get vaccinated, some businesses and events are requiring people to prove it before they can enter.
KAREN LEIGH: That is the case at one bar in Denver. The owner says if he can reopen and ensure safety, why wouldn't he? Andrea Flores spoke to that owner today, joins us tonight.
And Andrea, while he's one of the first in Denver to make this move, he is probably not going to be the last.
ANDREA FLORES: Universities and even cruise lines are some of the establishments that are now asking people to be fully vaccinated before they sign up. Bar Max off of Colfax and Josephine is the only bar in Denver asking you to not only prove you're 21, but to provide proof of vaccination.
MARSHALL SMITH: We've been more closed than open.
ANDREA FLORES: Bar Max in Denver is now open after being closed for much of the pandemic. Patrons can enjoy a cocktail inside only if they provide proof of vaccination.
MARSHALL SMITH: We are not refusing service to anyone. We still have takeout options, we still have a patio. What we are saying is to sit down-- come in and sit down, enjoy a cocktail, we are asking that you be vaccinated.
ANDREA FLORES: Owner Marshall Smith reopened the bar last Friday once he was fully vaccinated.
MARSHALL SMITH: Now, being in a position where I don't have to decide, am I risking someone getting sick and possibly dying in order to pay my bills? That's a huge relief.
ANDREA FLORES: Sara Grossman says the rule is not only a relief for customers, but for employees as well.
SARA GROSSMAN: It's absolutely some peace of mind.
ANDREA FLORES: She handles marketing for Bar Max, and has been dealing with some backlash.
SARA GROSSMAN: Those who have commented on the bar's review sites also have never been into the bar. So we kind of are taking that with a very large grain of salt and suggesting that they go elsewhere.
ANDREA FLORES: While the policy has been controversial, the owner says his intention is to keep the community safe.
MARSHALL SMITH: I'm not an essential service. If you don't feel comfortable doing that, don't come.
ANDREA FLORES: For now, Bar Max is only open on Fridays and Saturdays. And they did want to mention they are still following all of the City of Denver's indoor dining protocols, including wearing a mask and using social distancing. Reporting live in Denver tonight, I'm Andrea Flores, covering Colorado first.