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Colorado approves Denver 5 Star program; city won't cap initial applications at 500

City says 19 businesses “are on track to be granted certification this week.”
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Posted at 6:26 PM, Feb 04, 2021

DENVER – Denver businesses that have received approval through the city’s 5 Star program application process will soon be allowed to expand their operations after the state certified the city’s program on Thursday.

The city and county opened its application portal on Tuesday so businesses could start applying for pre-certification after the state approved Denver’s program on a conditional basis last week.

The city said Thursday that 319 businesses had completed applications and turned them in thus far and are now preparing for inspections.

Already, 31 businesses have been audited, and the city said 19 of those applicants “are on track to be granted certification this week.”

The city said that it was no longer going to cap the initial number of businesses to be certified for the program at 500, which was the original plan, but would instead keep the portal open and continuously accept applications while the program is in existence.

The city said most of the applications so far have come from restaurants and that its outreach team was working on other business sectors – such as gyms, indoor event spaces, personal services and other general businesses – to get them information on applying.

Mayor Michael Hancock last week said processes are in place to ensure all businesses have the opportunity to participate in the program, nodding to the city's commitment to equity. The process is first-come, first-served basis and applications are available in English, Spanish and Vietnamese.

Denver is currently under Level Orange on the state's COVID-19 dial. Businesses certified through the 5 Star program will be allowed to operate under Level Yellow restrictions, which includes up to 50% capacity for indoor dining. Read the full restrictions for each level of the state's COVID-19 dial.

Inspectors will look for a variety of things during the audit and while it varies industry to industry, it may include reservations, ventilation, notification procedures in case of exposure and more. The state lists 30 to 40 points in its guidance and the city has a few additional aspects.

A list of approved businesses will be posted on the Denver 5 Star program website once the businesses have signed acceptance letter. That site also contains information on the program and directions on how businesses can apply.

“This 5 Star Certification Program represents a very encouraging, nimble collaboration between civic partners who share your goal of safely increasing capacity so you can serve more customers and get more of your employees back to work,” Denver Mayor Michael Hancock said in a statement. “I look forward to congratulating our first group out of the starting gate with certification.”