COLORADO SPRINGS — The Colorado Springs Chamber & EDC announced Tuesday it has joined a statewide coalition to submit its own business plan, falling under the "5 Star" program introduced as a pilot program last month to help keep businesses open with stricter COVID-19 limitations in counties statewide.
Colorado health officials released the draft guidelines in late November that would give businesses, including restaurants, the opportunity to avoid certain COVID-19 restrictions if they are certified through their local health agency. The program would allow restaurants and businesses to open back up, however businesses and restaurants would need to meet certain health and safety guidelines.
The Colorado Springs Chamber said its plan is similar to Mesa County's "5 Star" program that served as a pilot program for the state to observe whether these plans could work in counties under Level Red on the state dial.
"Under the coalition’s framework, businesses that are strictly implementing best safety practices will not be subject to restrictions that, under the current dial process, is subject to change every two weeks. Regardless of what level a county is on the statewide dial, certified businesses will be able to stay open," the release stated.
The chamber's proposal is as follows:
- Allows participating businesses to operate at 50 percent of their normal capacity, up to 175 people, regardless of what level the county is at in the state’s dial framework. This still allows for the required social distancing needed to keep employees and residents safe. Implementation of the program will be reevaluated for any county at the purple level (stay at home).
- Allows any county the opportunity to participate without having to go through a lengthy approval with CDPHE, resulting in true local control among the various local partners within each county.
The draft guidelines released by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment had a timeline in its document regarding the "5 Star" plan being utilized statewide:
- Nov. 25: Release discussion paper for public comment
- By Dec. 4: Review progress in Mesa to determine if this program is compatible with Red level
- Dec. 4-11: CDPHE to finalize parameters of this program with LPHAs, Chambers, restaurants, etc. based on Mesa County results
- Dec. 14: Publish final parameters of eligibility and operations
- Dec. 14-18: Conduct training with interested, eligible counties that want to stand up programs
- Dec. 18: Eligible counties can begin to launch if they have completed other steps