Become Associated:

New Search X

5 Star Business Certification Program

The State of Colorado’s “5 Star” Certified Business Variance Program allows businesses to expand operations by implementing safety measures beyond what is already required by public health orders and guidelines to help slow the spread of COVID-19. This program is designed for responsible businesses that are following public health guidance, and going above and beyond to prioritize the health and safety of their staff and customers.

The Summit County 5 Star Certification Program allows restaurants that achieve the certification to open indoor dining at a capacity of 25 percent, limiting seating at individual tables to one household. Bars that operate like a restaurant will also be eligible. Gyms, yoga studios, fitness centers and other personal recreation businesses that meet 5 Star criteria will be able to increase from 10 percent to 25 percent of posted maximum indoor capacity. If the program is successful, and COVID case numbers continue to decline, more business sectors will be eligible.

This opportunity has been made possible for Summit County because of three consecutive weeks of consistently downward-trending COVID-19 case numbers, as well as ongoing advocacy by Summit County and all local municipalities.

Application and Certification Timeline

  • Restaurants are encouraged to apply at any time. Inspections will be scheduled by the relevant jurisdiction.
  • Personal recreation businesses, including gyms, fitness centers and yoga studios, will be eligible to apply beginning 3 p.m., Monday, Dec. 28.
  • The State of Colorado issued approval of this program for Summit County on Friday, Dec. 18. Businesses may operate under the 5 Star guidelines as soon as they pass inspection and receive certification.
  • View more information on the State of Colorado 5 Star Program Parameters.

Application, Inspection and Certification Process

  1. Download the applicable application:
  2. Complete the application.
  3. Email your completed application to the jurisdiction in which your business is located. Your Town or the County will contact you to schedule an inspection.

4. Upon successful inspection, applicants will receive a 5 Star Certificate and begin operating under the 5 Star parameters immediately. The 5 Star Certificate must be posted in a highly visible location at or near the entrance to the establishment. 

Restaurants that receive the certification can operate at 25% of the posted occupancy limit indoors not to exceed 50 people, excluding staff, whichever is less, per room. In addition, restaurants must observe the following closure schedule:

  • 9 p.m. - No more on premise alcohol  for patrons
  • 10 p.m. - Patrons leave - restaurant closed for on premise dining
  • 10 p.m. – No more alcohol for curbside takeout and delivery
  • No cut off for curbside, takeout and delivery for JUST food

Personal recreation businesses that receive certification can operate at 25% of the posted occupancy limit indoors, not to exceed 25 people. In addition, such businesses must:

  • Require masks in workout areas and locker rooms.
  • Post signs and decals and ensure staff guidance on maintaining six feet of physical distance among people from different households.
  • Sanitize high-touch surfaces regularly.
  • Screen employees daily for COVID-19 symptoms and potential exposures.
  • Screen customers for symptoms and exposures, and record their names and contact information to support contact tracing.
  • Allow all workouts by reservation only.
  • Develop a written plan for outbreak detection, response and exposure notification.
  • Make extra effort to provide outdoor fitness options where possible and/or to make special hours or accommodations for at-risk individuals.
  • Ventilation has been improved through HVAC improvements, HEPA filters appropriate for the space size, or opening windows or doors, with an operating fan blowing air out during business hours to maximize airflow.

Eligible Industries

At this point, Summit County is implementing a 5 Star certification process for restaurants only, as they are currently restricted to zero indoor capacity under Level Red. Bars that operate like restaurants are also eligible. This variance brings certified restaurants to 25 percent maximum indoor capacity.

Personal recreation businesses, including gyms, fitness centers, yoga studios and dance studios, will be eligible to apply beginning 3 p.m., Monday, Dec. 28.

If the program is successful, and COVID-19 case numbers continue to decline, the County will consider expanding the program to other business sectors.

Program Lifespan

If Summit County sees a significant rise in COVID-19 cases or hospitalizations, then the program may be suspended. This automatically occurs if we reach more than 90 percent of the county’s ICU hospital capacity.

Thus, it is vitally important that case numbers and hospitalizations continue on the downward trend made possible by the community’s previous hard work, and that business owners and workers make smart decisions by avoiding group gatherings and limiting any in-person celebrations to members of their own household.

Depending on where the county falls on the State COVID-19 dial, certified businesses are eligible for less restrictive capacity caps. For example, if Summit County were to move to Level Orange, certified businesses would be eligible for Level Yellow restrictions. In these cases, the business would need to reapply, as the conditions for operating in Level Red will be different from those in levels Orange and Yellow.

Revocation of Certifications

A business will lose its 5 Star certification if it receives two written violations of the Public Health Orders or the terms of the 5 Star permit.

Frequently Asked Questions

View answers to frequently asked questions (pdf) about the 5 Star Certification Program.