PUEBLO — Pueblo leaders announced Tuesday that businesses that are 5 Star certified can operate within Level Yellow restrictions on the state's COVID-19 dial.
City and county leaders said they received approval from the state for the 5 Star program Monday. Pueblo County Commissioner Garrison Ortiz said the program is up and running with 30 businesses in the queue that have applied.
Most recently, the program became more complicated when Gov. Jared Polis announced Pueblo could operate in Level Orange on the COVID-19 dial, while the county's number of Coronavirus cases remained in Level Red. However, the county needs to see a two-week downturn of COVID-19 cases in order to allow businesses to operate in Level Yellow on the dial.
Ortiz said all businesses that are certified as of Tuesday will be allowed to operate under Level Yellow. Under Level Yellow, restaurants can operate with 50% capacity or 50 people for indoor dining.
"This program took a long time to set up. There's a lot of requirements by the state, in fact there's governing commission locally," he said.
1129 Spirits and Eatery is one of the first restaurants to have their application approved, and restaurant representative Jennifer Priest says the increase in capacity is a game changer for businesses success.
“The difference 25% to 50%, that’s going to keep businesses alive. It’s going to keep a lot of businesses alive," said Priest.
If a businesses prevention plan is not approved, the city and county will reach out to help the business make improvements to their plan. The application will be reviewed on a first-come-first serve basis.
The 5 Star Variance program in Pueblo was first discussed in late December 2020, asking businesses to begin putting prevention plans together while the county awaited approval for the variance from the state. The program would allow businesses to operate one level lower on the COVID-19 dial than the county is in.
The businesses who are now 5 Star Certified include:
- 1.Brues Alehouse
- 2. Pizza Ranch
- 3. High Desert Elite Volley Ball Club
- 4. Applebee’s both Pueblo locations
- 5. 1129 Spirits and Eatery
To learn more or sign up for the program, click here.
This is a developing story that will be updated throughout the day.