State finalizes ‘5 star’ program that will allow ‘responsible businesses’ to expand operations

Coronavirus

DENVER (KDVR) — The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) announced Wednesday evening that it has finalized its plan for a “Five star” program that will allow some businesses to expand operations.

The CDPHE said it finalized the parameters for the program after “receiving over 980 public comments and engaging in numerous stakeholder meetings with local government, local public health, and the business community.”

Businesses will be able to expand their operations if they implement safety measures beyond what is already required under the state’s COVID-19 dial.

A similar system is already being used in Mesa County.

“This program is for responsible businesses that are following public health guidance, and going above and beyond to prioritize the health and safety of their staff and customers,” the CDPHE said in a statement.

Businesses can begin submitting applications to the CDPHE on Friday.

The health department said the program is voluntary for local governments and will act as “an expanding directory of establishments recognized for their efforts to keep their communities safe and open.”

The CDPHE said the program will be suspended if a county has rapidly rising cases or hospitalizations, including if the county’s intensive care units reach 90% capacity.

Once a business is approved, it will be able to expand operations in the following ways, based on where its county is on the state’s COVID-19 dial:

  • Counties in Level Green have an automatic capacity increase in the Protect Our Neighbors framework.
  • Counties in Level Blue are eligible if county incidence, percent positivity, and hospitalizations ALL meet the Blue level. If approved, certified businesses can operate with an additional 50 people added to their cap. 
  • Counties in Level Yellow are eligible if county incidence, percent positivity, and hospitalizations ALL meet the Yellow level. If approved, certified businesses can operate at Blue capacity levels.
  • Counties in Level Orange are eligible if county incidence, percent positivity, and hospitalizations ALL meet the Orange level. If approved, certified businesses can operate at Yellow capacity levels.
  • Counties in Level Red are eligible ONLY if a county has had a 2 week sustained decline in incidence, percent positivity, and hospitalizations. If approved, certified businesses can operate at Orange capacity levels.
  • Counties in Level Purple are not eligible for the variance program. 

Based on current CDPHE data, 63 of Colorado’s 64 counties are under Level Red, Orange or Yellow restrictions. Hinsdale County is under Level Blue restrictions.

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