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LONE TREE, Colo. (KDVR) – Douglas County became the first in the Denver metro area to be approved for the state’s new “5 star” program. It allows businesses taking extra COVID-19 safety precautions to expand operations.

“We honor the hundreds of individuals throughout the County whose dedication to this outcome created the opportunity for our businesses to reopen today,” said County Commissioner Roger Partridge. “And a hat’s off to Mesa County, specifically Mesa County Commissioner Rose Pugliese, for her leadership creating the model that helped us move forward so quickly with our program.”

As of Thursday, more than 50 businesses in Douglas County, including gyms and restaurants, have been given the green light to allow people back indoors under a 25% capacity rule.

“What a great day for our business community who, through their enrollment in this certification, forged a clear path for their own sustainability and simultaneous protection of public health,” said County Commissioner Lora Thomas.

Restaurants like Perry’s Steakhouse and Grill in Lone Tree are getting a holiday rush they never expected.

“As soon as people started hearing about it, you could hear the joy over the phone because it wouldn’t stop ringing,” said Greg Grady, senior general Manager at perry’s. “We had all five phones ringing, everyone running around. It was exciting to have that back.”

Between outdoor patios and igloos, Perry’s had room for 16 tables when its indoor dining closed, but with the expansion they now have room for 34 more. That tripled the size of their restaurant, bringing back 20 employees to help run the show.

“It’s a Christmas miracle,” said Grady.

Douglas County will keep an updated map available for people to check what businesses get approved to reopen online.