Applications are now live for Boulder County’s Five Star Certification Program.
The program — which will allow certified businesses to operate at a less-restrictive capacity than outlined by the state’s color-coded COVID dial dashboard — late last month earned Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment approval.
“For a business to qualify for the program, it must demonstrate that it has implemented all the required public health measures to help protect customers and staff from contracting COVID-19 and be inspected by the Five Star program staff,” the Longmont Economic Development Partnership and Boulder Chamber stated in a joint news release on Monday.
The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment created the COVID-19 5 Star State Certification program on Dec. 14. It allows counties to develop local certification programs in which businesses implement safety measures beyond those required by public health orders.
The county program was created through a partnership between the LEDP and Boulder Chamber. The administrative committee responsible for its oversight includes economic development leaders; municipal, county and public health staff; elected officials, and hospital executives.
Boulder County is at the yellow level on the state’s COVID dial, a status it achieved Saturday, when an update to the state’s dial, dubbed Dial 2.0, went into effect. The county’s move to yellow, from its previous orange status, allows retailers, gyms and fitness centers, personal services businesses, offices, indoor and outdoor event venues and non-critical manufacturers to operate at 50% of capacity.
Restaurants also can operate at 50% capacity for indoor dining, with a cap of 150 people based on square footage. Being at the yellow level also means restaurants can move last call for alcohol to 11 p.m. instead of 10 p.m.
Bars will be required to remain closed.
Businesses that earn Five Star certification, however, could move to the even less-restrictive blue level on the dial as early as month’s end, according to the release.
“Businesses operating in counties moving to Yellow after Friday’s COVID Dial 2.0 announcement will not be able to operate in Blue until 70% of 70-year-olds in Colorado are vaccinated, which is expected by the end of the month,” the release states. “Once this happens, Boulder County Five Star Certified businesses could be among the first in Colorado allowed to operate in the Blue level.”
At the blue level, restaurants could host up to 175 people and last call could move to midnight. Non-critical manufacturers, gyms and fitness centers, and indoor event venues also could host up to 175 people, while outdoor event venues could potentially host up to 250 people.
Retailers and personal service business capacities remain at 50% in the blue level, and bars remain closed.
“The dial change announcement allowing businesses to begin opening at greater capacity is a testament to how Boulder businesses and residents have done their jobs to mitigate the spread of COVID-19,” the LEDP and Boulder Chamber stated in the news release. “The Boulder County Five Star Administrative Committee is encouraging Boulder County businesses to pursue Five Star Certification, in part, to aid in keeping the county moving in the right direction.”
Certification, which signals a business’ “commitment to keeping Boulder County safe,” according to the release, also could provide assurances should the county move back to the more-restrictive orange or red levels on the state dial. Certified businesses will be able to continue to operate one level down on the dial, according to the release.
“Ultimately, Friday’s COVID Dial 2.0 update rewards Five Star Certified businesses by giving them the opportunity to move down the dial when eligible and protects them if Boulder County moves back up the dial,” the release states.
Information on how to apply for Five Star Certification is available in English and Spanish on Boulder County’s Five Star Certification Program website: http://bit.ly/BOCO5STAR. This website also provides instructional videos, sample inspection checklists, and resources for businesses interested in applying.
A fund has been created to help businesses pay the $100 program application fee or to pay the costs of any public health measures required to receive certification, according to the release. A business needing financial support to pursue certification is encouraged to submit an application and will be provided a link to apply for BoCo Five Star funding once an application is submitted, according to the release. Learn more about the fund or make a donation, here.