State Health Department Makes Changes to Original Five-Star Program, Costing Businesses More to Comply

The Colorado Department of Health and Environment (CDPHE) recently approved a statewide Five-Star program intended to help counties and businesses that follow public health guidelines operate amid COVID-19 restrictions. Unfortunately, the revised plan from CDPHE presents significant burdens to businesses and does little to help local communities through these challenging times.

The Colorado Springs Chamber and EDC, Colorado Springs Mayor John Suthers, and other local Colorado Springs officials have asked Gov. Polis to consider a different approach to the statewide Five-Star program.

“In a letter dated Dec. 4, the Colorado Springs Chamber & EDC previously provided feedback, alongside 45 statewide business organizations including the Colorado Restaurant Association, Colorado Chamber, and NFIB, on the program piloted in Mesa County that CDPHE had prepared to roll out statewide. The current, revised program is significantly different than what these business associations requested as well as CDPHE’s original proposal, and will result in considerable, unnecessary cost and administrative burden to businesses, our organizations, and to taxpayers,” the letter says.

The letter continues to break down the cost of the CDPHE proposal on businesses, citing no cost-benefit to participate in the program.

“The cost of an air-filtration system may run a restaurant $20,000, while gaining them minor increases in capacity with which to recoup that cost. The proposal also requires significant cost, staffing, and infrastructure from the counties, municipalities, and chambers of commerce which must create and run the programs. Further, the proposal includes a number of onerous requirements that have no impact on disease transmission prevention, and some that are in direct contradiction to existing public health orders,” the letter continues.

“In Colorado, we rely on data to make our decisions. The state’s own data shows that nearly all businesses are following health protocols, many even going above what is required of them, because they understand what’s at stake. Health department data shows that businesses are not the source of outbreaks… We therefore urge you to consider a much more efficient solution that will immediately offer businesses relief: Revise the Public Health Order to immediately allow 25% capacity of indoor dining, with a maximum of two households per table, and increase that to 50% in two weeks if numbers continue to decline.”

To read the full letter, please click here.