The Colorado Chamber has joined local chambers and business organizations across the state in asking Gov. Jared Polis to consider changes to the proposed statewide Five-Star Program currently under consideration by the Colorado Department of Health and Environment (CDPHE).
Mesa County’s Five-Star Program, in partnership with the Grand Junction Area Chamber Commerce, recognizes businesses that are taking necessary precautions to slow the spread of COVID-19. After a safety inspection is performed by the county’s public health department, qualified businesses are awarded a five-star rating, which allows a special variance from county public health orders, allowing businesses to open at greater capacity.
The program, which has been in place since the summer, has been so successful that Gov. Polis and CDPHE have been contemplating a statewide adaptation of the program.
In a letter to Gov. Polis, the Colorado Chamber and other business organizations have asked that a statewide framework allow “five-star” businesses to operate at 50% their normal capacity under all county risk levels except purple (stay-at-home). The letter also asks that all counties have the opportunity to participate without having to go through an arduous approval process through CDPHE.
“We respectfully request that our alternative framework be adopted by your administration,” the letter states. “It will save lives and it will save jobs.”
The letter refers to a recent statement by the Director of the CDC that there is no need for the wholesale shut-down of businesses. County data also suggests that a very small percentage of Colorado COVID-positive patients have been shown to have been infected by visiting a local business.
Further, according to recent data from the Governor’s Office, state inspections conducted by the Colorado Department of Revenue have found that the vast majority of Colorado businesses are carefully following COVID-19 protocols and public health orders.