Vail checking in on bar occupancies |

Vail checking in on bar occupancies

Lauren Glendenning
Vail, CO Colorado

VAIL, Colorado –Vail bar and restaurant owners used to packing in the crowds could be told to start keeping better track of their maximum capacities, according to the Vail Fire Department.

The Fire Department is checking up on local establishments to make sure they’re not just providing food and beverages, but also safety, to their patrons, said Vail Fire Chief Mark Miller. It’s a practice the Fire Department and the town does periodically to make sure everyone is complying, he said.

The town gets complaints on occasion from neighbors or patrons, and the periodic check-ups are for everybody’s benefit, Miller said.

“We want to make sure that if people need to get out, they can,” Miller said. “We have to do it every once in a while to remind people what the occupancy loads are.”

Miller said the town is sensitive to business owners’ needs, recognizing that the occupancy is sometimes not even enough to keep a business afloat.

“If we based it just off what the code says for square footage, some places wouldn’t be able to make a living,” Miller said. “We recognize that they do need a certain number of people in there to make it.”

Miller said the town is sending out investigators to check out local establishments to make sure they’re being managed well. The town would first ask owners to reduce their occupancy if it’s too crowded, but could resort to other punishments if necessary.

“If (business owners) don’t know what their load capacity is and they don’t have a (counter) clicker, that’s not a good thing,” Miller said. “Worst case scenario, and we haven’t done this since I’ve been here, but we can just shut them down. That’s the last thing we want to do, though.”

Community Editor Lauren Glendenning can be reached at 970-748-2983 or

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