Although Arapahoe County currently sits at Level Red on the state’s COVID dial dashboard, an order from Governor Polis allowed all County businesses to operate at Level Orange capacities beginning on January 4, 2021.
This move coincided with the County’s establishment of its Five-Star Recovery Partner Program, which enables approved businesses to operate at capacities that are one level lower than the County’s position on the dial.
The obvious question is whether getting approved means that businesses can then operate with Level Yellow restrictions, and the answer is—not yet. The state and the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) have clarified that counties, including Arapahoe, that were bumped from Red to Orange by the Governor’s order must demonstrate at least seven consecutive days of Level Orange numbers in all three categories (hospitalizations, cumulative cases and COVID positivity rates) before CDPHE will approve another move to Level Yellow restrictions.
As of January 7, Arapahoe County’s hospitalizations and positivity rates were in the Yellow category, but its cumulative case numbers were still in Red, with 519 over the prior two weeks. Until the County is able to drop this number below 350 for at least seven straight days no further changes to the County’s dial position will be approved.
This raises another obvious question: Why should businesses apply for Five-Star certification now if they’re already able to operate at Level Orange and can’t move to Level Yellow anyway? The County is encouraging all businesses to apply for the certification as a way of getting “pre-approved” for the next move on the dial. By securing certification now, businesses will be able to expand their capacities immediately once the County moves again, because they’ll already have gone through the inspection and approval process. Moreover, being able to display the Five-Star certificate will help show their customers that the businesses’ state-mandated safety protocols are already in place.
Arapahoe County officials appreciate everyone’s patience and support during this very chaotic and often confusing time. For more information, visit arapahoegov.com/fivestar.