Late Wednesday evening, Governor Polis announced that counties under Level Red restrictions – which currently includes Arapahoe County – will move to Level Orange restrictions beginning Monday, January 4, 2021. Under these restrictions, County residents will be able to hold or attend personal gatherings of up to 10 people from two different households; restaurants can offer indoor dining at up to 25% of their capacity, or 50 people (whichever is lower); and indoor events will be allowed at 25% capacity. For complete information on the capacity restrictions at various levels, visit the state’s website.
This announcement also means that businesses that are applying for the County’s new Five-Star Recovery Partner Program will be able to operate under Level Orange restrictions beginning Monday, Jan. 4, 2021, without the certification. The Five-Star application portal is now open, and the County anticipates that inspections will begin the week of January 4, 2021. To ensure the timely review of applications, businesses are urged to carefully review the application process prior to submitting.
Businesses that have applied for and been accepted to the program will continue to operate at Level Orange capacities for the time being. However, once the County has maintained 7 days of decreasing numbers appropriate to Level Orange, certified businesses will then be allowed to operate at Level Yellow restrictions.
For more information about the program and the application requirements, visit arapahoegov.com/fivestar.
These developments reflect the fact that Arapahoe County’s recent case data shows that COVID case incidence and positivity rates, along with hospitalization rates, have continually decreased over the past two weeks. The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) will review all metrics within 14 days to assess the County’s dial status. If the County sees a significant rise in cases, percent positivity, or hospitalizations, CDPHE may suspend the Five-Star program certification, and the program will be automatically suspended if the ICU hospital capacity reaches 90% in the County.
“We’re pleased that our COVID case numbers have decreased enough to enable Arapahoe County to be granted the variance that will allow us to launch the Five-Star program,” said Nancy N. Sharpe, Arapahoe County Board Chair. “This will provide a consistent method for reopening area businesses in a way that will help them earn more revenue and get their employees back to work, while also helping their customers and our communities control the spread of COVID-19.”
The Five-Star Recovery Partner Program is voluntary and open to all eligible businesses within Arapahoe County. Businesses are ineligible if they received any previous non-compliance citations from the Tri-County Health Department as of Dec. 18, 2020. While all businesses are eligible to apply, the program will initially prioritize restaurant, gym, and indoor event applications. There is no cost for the application.
Businesses must complete the online application stating that the business is willing and able to meet all the criteria on the Business Certification Checklist. Please note: Businesses with multiple locations must certify each location separately. Accepted participants are not required to re-apply each time Arapahoe County’s position on the statewide dial moves, but they must remain in good standing to continue operating at the higher-level capacity restrictions.
To facilitate the application process, businesses must file a site-specific implementation and compliance plan with the County as part of their application, to document how they will implement these requirements for their specific business and location; a template for this is available on the Five-Star website. To further facilitate certification, businesses should review the following prior to submitting the online form:
Verify Location: Within the application, businesses will be asked whether their facility is located within unincorporated Arapahoe County or in a municipality. Failure to accurately denote location could delay application routing to the appropriate entity.
Review Requirements: Consistent with the State of Colorado program requirements, businesses applying to the program will need to meet certain General Business requirements for certification. In addition, there are industry-specific requirements businesses will need to follow.
Once a business has successfully submitted an application, the form will be forwarded to the appropriate city or County entity (depending on business location) for review, and for scheduling of a live inspection with the owner or manager. Inspectors are County staff who will visually validate business compliance with stated program requirements. Once businesses successfully pass inspection and submit any additional site-specific plans, they will receive an email informing them of program acceptance, along with a certificate to print and display in their window. Businesses that fail inspection will be able to correct any issues and reapply.
For more information, visit the Five-Star website. A list of program resources and FAQs is also available.