ARAPAHOE COUNTY, Colo. (KDVR) — The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) approved Arapahoe County’s application for the state’s “Five Star” variance system. The program allows businesses taking extra safety precautions to expand operations.
In order for a business to qualify for the program, it has to demonstrate that it has implemented additional measures to help protect customers and staff from contracting COVID-19.
Businesses can begin applying for the program on Thursday. Applications will be accepted online.
Inspections will begin the week of Jan. 4, according to the county.
Once approved for the program, a business can operate under less strict restrictions under the state’s COVID-19 dial. Currently, Arapahoe County is under Level Red restrictions.
“We’re pleased that our COVID case numbers have decreased enough to enable Arapahoe County to be granted the variance that will allow us to launch the Five-Star program while the County is in the Red Dial Position,” said Arapahoe County Board Chair Nancy N. Sharpe. “This will provide a consistent method for reopening area businesses in a way that will help them earn more revenue and get their employees back to work, while also helping their customers and our communities control the spread of COVID-19.”
If a business participating in the program is found to have violated the rules once, it will be issued a warning. If it is found to be non-compliant a second time, it will be prohibited from participating in the program.
The county could lose its ability to participate in the program if there is a significant rise in the number of coronavirus cases, percent positivity or hospitalizations.
“The program is automatically suspended if the ICU hospital capacity reaches 90% in either the county or the Regional Emergency Medical Services and Trauma Services Advisory Committee area in which the county participates,” the CDPHE said in a statement.