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Denver opens 5 Star applications to 500 businesses Tuesday

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Posted at 11:42 AM, Feb 01, 2021

DENVER — Denver is opening applications for its 5 Star program to 500 businesses beginning Tuesday.

The program will pre-certify businesses, such as restaurants, allowing those who qualify to offer expanded capacity. For example, Denver is now under Level Orange on the state's COVID-19 dial. Businesses certified through the 5 Star program would 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.

Starting 10 a.m. Tuesday, local businesses can apply to become pre-certified for the program. Applications can be found through the city's 5 Star website. Information about town halls on Monday and Tuesday can also be found on the 5 Star website.

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. A scheduled on-site audit will follow to earn the pre-certification approval.

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.

Denver Economic Development & Opportunity Executive Director Eric Hiraga said they are excited to implement this program as it's a safe and effective way to reopen businesses that have been struggling to make ends meet throughout the pandemic.

"We think this could be a real game changer here in Denver," he said. "The launch of this program could not have come at a better time as more urgent relief is needed for businesses."