Denver Applies to Five Star Certification Program to Allow Local Businesses To Loosen Restrictions

On Thursday, December 31. 2020 – the Denver Economic Development & Opportunity submitted an application to the Colorado Department of Public Heath and Environment (CDPHE) for approval to allow businesses to participate in the State’s Five Star Certification Program. The Five Star program is unique in the sense that it allows businesses to accelerate the reopening process, meanwhile relieving businesses of strict capacity limits.

In order to do so – businesses must comply with additional safety measures that go beyond orders mandated by the department of Public Health. By implementing such measures – Five Star certification ensures the safety of both employees and customers. While the program is entirely voluntary – businesses that wish to participate must also comply with its county COVID-19 dial. Meaning each business’ capacity limit is dependent on its county dial level.

Types of businesses that are eligible for the program include:

  • General businesses
  • Gyms and fitness programs
  • Restaurants
  • Personal services
  • Indoor events

As Denver experiences, economic hardship with over 63,000 hospitality jobs lost due to the pandemic – the city must provide a solution. The Five Star Program aims to help the economy and more specifically – individual businesses who are facing hardship due to the pandemic.

In order to successfully execute the program – Denver county must administer a committee which is to include the Local Public Health Agency (LPHA). The LPHA has jurisdiction over development, compliance and enforcing public health orders. In addition – Denver must also include partners such as the Denver Chamber of Commerce, local elected officials, non-profit organizations and industry association members.

Here is a list of resources that determine a city or county eligible for this program:

  • Will administering this program require new staff?
  • Will setting up the program require contracting with other organizations to help conduct compliance and enforcement checks?
  • What is the administrative committee budget and what sources of funding will be used to appropriately resource program needs?
  • Who will administer the financial portions of this program?

Here is a list of how each business is to ensure compliance and enforcement:

  • How will the committee assure that live inspecitions are completed by a third party prior to a business being certified?
  • How will you develop the training and procedures for inspections?
  • How will you conduct live inspections?
  • How will you ensure all inspections are conducted with appropriate rigor and quality?
  • How will you ensure that every certified business has a publicly advertised way for customers to file a compliance complaint with CDPHE?
  • How will the administrative committee respond to these complaints?
  • How will the administrative committee issue single warning citations, and then revoke certifications for non-compliant businesses?

How to begin preparing the application you would like your business to use:

  • Who will develop the individual business application?
  • How will the administrative committee track applications?
  • How will you ensure individual businesses are trained on the specific requirements for their sector?
  • Will you provide your businesses with a template to write their individual prevention plans to file with the administrative committee? Will these templates be industry specific?
  • What is the full application process a business will go through, including education, application, inspection, and certification?

According to the City of Denver, the details for the Denver program and application period will be available within the next couple weeks.

COVID-19 Dial Restrictions.

Courtesy of CDPHE

If a county is listed under level red restrictions – businesses will only be eligible if a county has had a two-week sustained decline in incidence, hospitalizations and under 10% positivity rate. With a Five Star Certification – businesses can operate at Level Orange allowances.

If a county is listed under level orange restrictionsbusinesses can only operate when hospitalizations, percent positivity and incidences are at Level orange thresholds. Businesses with a Five Star Certification – can operate at Level Yellow allowances.

Denver is currently operating under Level Orange restrictions as of January 4. For Five Star Certified businesses in Denver to operate under yellow allowances – the county of Denver must first maintain seven days of level orange, average incidences first. For more information on COVID-19 Dial Restrictions please visit the COVID-19 Dial Dashboard.

For additional information on sufficient quality ventilation, customer symptom and exposure checks and citations for non-compliance – go here. Please refer to this document for mitigation strategies and certified requirements.