By Audra Streetman

DENVER (CBS4) – Colorado health officials are seeking feedback about a proposed certification program that would allow businesses to operate under fewer restrictions if they pass a state inspection. The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment released the draft framework for the program on Friday.

The proposal is similar to Mesa County’s 5-Star program, which launched in the summer. The 5-Star program rates businesses based on how well they comply with COVID-19 safety criteria.

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(credit: Mesa County Variance Protection Program Facebook page)

On Wednesday, the Board of Douglas County Commissioners sent a letter to Gov. Jared Polis asking for permission to implement a program similar to Mesa County’s program.

CDPHE is reviewing several weeks of data from the 5-Star program to determine if it is compatible with counties under Level Red restrictions on the state’s dial. Currently, counties in level Blue, Yellow and Orange on the state’s dial are eligible for the business certification.

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(credit: CDPHE)

In order to be certified, businesses must provide a written plan about how they plan to implement COVID-19 prevention guidelines. The certification requirements include:

  • 100% mask wearing among staff and customers
  • Daily employee symptom checks or screening
  • Regular outreach to employees and customers to activate Exposure Notifications
  • Businesses must record the name and contact number of customers for contact tracing
  • Industry specific requirements:
    • Restaurants – table spacing is at least 10 feet, reservations are required
    • Gyms – reservations are required
    • Personal services – reservations are required

Businesses previously cited for noncompliance with a public health order are ineligible to be certified. The state could suspend program if a county reaches more than 90% of hospital capacity or records Level Red metrics for more than a two-week period.

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Business owners and members of the public can submit comments about the program through an online form. The deadline to submit comments is Dec. 4. CDPHE plans to announce if the program is approved by Dec. 14.

Audra Streetman