CRA: Five Cheers for Five Star

Curated news from the CRA.

Black and white illustration of thumbs up gesture to the left of a row of five stars.
All of Colorado has a thumbs up for the 5 Star Certification Program. / Hong Li ©

The 5 Star Certification Program isn’t up and running across Colorado yet, but it’s getting closer. Unfortunately, operators still have to wait for county governments to form committees, get buy-in from public health agencies, and submit variance requests to CDPHE. In the meantime, interested restaurants should start working on their plans for increased social distancing, employee and customer symptom screening, plus written implementation and response plans.

In addition, the Colorado Restaurant Association is also seeing an uptick in restaurants and municipal governments vowing to continue indoor dining in Level Red counties and is reminding owners and operators that the state of Colorado has the authority to enforce public health orders. Penalties for not adhering to orders include fines, jail time, and ineligibility for state and local funding as well as participation in the 5 Star Certification program. Read the CRA’s previous statement about this here.

The following information comes from the CRA’s December 17 newsletter. Sign up to receive the full version here. And take a gander at its Coronavirus Resource Center and on our Covid-19 Reopening Resources for general info.

5 Star Certification Program: What We Know So Far

Earlier this week, the State released a more comprehensive look at the 5 Star State Certification Program and offered a checklist of compliance requirements that interested counties can begin implementing to prepare for the roll out. The 5 Star Certification Program will allow increased capacities in restaurants that can prove they are complying with the additional public health guidelines required in the program.

Here’s what we know so far:

  • The first step in the process is for interested counties to form an Administrative Committee responsible for implementing the program. These committees must include the county local public health agency and other partners such as local chambers of commerce, nonprofits, industry leaders, association members, and members of the public.
  • Once the Administrative Committee has been formed, the Committee must then submit a variance application to the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment. The county variance applications can be submitted as early as December 18, 2020. Like other variance applications, counties must secure letters of support from the local hospitals, county commissioners, county sheriff, local police departments, mayors, emergency managers, and local tribes (if applicable) in order for the applications to be considered.
  • The State will then review the applications and approve eligible counties to begin implementing the program.
  • Counties in levels Green, Blue, Yellow, and Orange are automatically eligible for the 5 Star Program. Counties in Level Red are only eligible if the county has had a two-week sustained decline in incidence, percent positivity, and hospitalizations. Counties in Level Purple are not eligible for the program.
  • Once a county has received approval from the State, it can then launch its 5 Star Certification application for businesses. Interested businesses can apply for the program through their local county application system.
  • Once approved, 5 Star-certified restaurants can utilize the capacity guidelines of the next, less restrictive dial level. Meaning, if a 5 Star restaurant is located in a Level Orange county and subject to 25% capacity, then that restaurant would be able to operate under Level Yellow guidelines and increase their capacity to 50%.

We are continuing to have conversations with the State for additional clarity of the 5 Star State Certification Program and are recommending changes to make the program a viable and timely option for local governments and restaurants alike.

You can read more about the 5 Star Program and review the county checklist here

Talk to DiningOut! Email your experiences (and thoughts, opinions, and questions—anything, really) to


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here