Denver-area 5 Star businesses can operate under Level Blue now. Here's what that means

snow restaurant
Posted at 11:45 AM, Mar 03, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-03 13:45:04-05

DENVER — With 70% of Colorado's 70-and-over residents vaccinated, Denver-area businesses certified through the state's 5 Star program are now allowed to operate under Level Blue restrictions.

The main benefit to those businesses? Restaurants and gyms will get an expanded capacity of 50% or 175 people, whichever is fewer, up from capacity limits of 50 people.

Denver and other metro counties — including Arapahoe, Adams and Douglas — remain in Level Yellow on the state's COVID-19 dial, which calls for capacity limits of 50% or 50 people. But as state officials announced in February, businesses certified through the 5 Star program would be allowed to operate on Level Blue protocols once the state reached its goal of 70% of 70-and-older residents receiving a vaccine.

Here's the full list of Level Blue restrictions, compared to Level Yellow. Under Level Blue, last call is extended to midnight from 11 p.m. Outdoor events and entertainment can extend capacity to 250 people, or 50%, whichever is fewer, up from limits of 175 people.

The 5 Star program is a pre-certification process in which officials make sure an applying business adheres to certain COVID-19 safety protocols. If approved, the business would be allowed to operate under less restrictions than its county's COVID-19 level.

Colorado surpassed its 70-and-older vaccination goal this week — as of Tuesday, 70.7% of 70-and-older residents had received a vaccine.

Gov. Jared Polis on Tuesday also expressed optimism for Colorado in the months ahead, due, in part, to an expected surge in vaccine supply now that the Johnson & Johnson single-dose vaccine is approved for use.

“I’m confident that summer will be very close to normal,” Polis said Tuesday. “Based on these vaccine predictions that we have today, we are very hopeful that people who want the vaccine will be able to access it in April and May in time to have a summer that allows them to enjoy everything that Colorado has to offer. It all depends on the supply of vaccine.”

Beginning Friday, anyone in the state 60 and older will be eligible to receive a vaccine. The expanded eligibility will include some frontline, essential workers and younger people with two or more qualifying medical conditions.