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CDPHE finalizes parameters for 5 star variance program

REMOTE, (Dec. 16, 2020): Today, the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) released the final parameters for the “5 star” certified business variance program, after receiving over 980 public comments and engaging in numerous stakeholder meetings with local government, local public health, and the business community. CDPHE will begin accepting applications on Friday.

The program requires businesses certified through the program to implement safety measures beyond what is already required by public health orders and guidelines that will help slow the spread of COVID-19, and in doing so, they will be able to expand operations. 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.

Depending on the county’s level and metrics, certified businesses may be eligible for less restrictive capacity caps. 5 Star certification reassures employees and customers that businesses are adhering to enhanced guidance in other areas. The program is completely voluntary for local governments and also serves as an expanding directory of establishments recognized for their efforts to keep their communities safe and open.

Eligibility and capacity levels are dependent on the county’s current dial level. 

  • 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. 

If a county sees a significant rise in cases or hospitalizations, then the program may be suspended. This automatically occurs if the region reaches more than 90% of their county’s/RETAC ICU hospital capacity. 

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