By Clayton Chaney
Businesses in Archuleta County may be able to operate under reduced restrictions through the new 5 Star State Certification Program being rolled out by the Colorado Department of Pubic Health and Environment (CDPHE).
On Jan. 28, the Archuleta County Board of County Commissioners (BoCC) received a letter from the CDPHE notifying them that the county has been approved for the program,“contingent on metric eligibility.”
The program is designed to help businesses accelerate in their reopening process.
According to the CDPHE website, “Depending on where their county or municipality falls on the COVID-19 dial, certified businesses are eligible for less restrictive capacity caps.”
The letter notes that the county meets the percent positivity and hospitalization metric criteria for the program, but has not met the incidence rate metric criteria.
Once the county meets the two-week cumulative incident rate of less than 350/100,000 population and sustains it for seven consecutive days, the CDPHE will confirm that the county is approved to proceed.
Attached in the letter is a graph depicting the county’s two-week cumulative incident rate as 364.2 per 100,000 from Jan. 14 through Jan. 27.
Meanwhile, the CDPHE has allowed the county to pre-certify businesses “so that they may begin operating under the 5 Star program as soon as the county receives final approval from CDPHE,” the letter states.
Additionally, in order to be approved and continue operating under the 5 Star program, the county is required to provide weekly updates to San Juan Basin Public Health and the CDPHE that must include the following:
• Number of new applications from businesses for the program.
• Number of trained inspectors.
• Number of inspections conducted.
• Number of businesses that fail the inspection.
• New certifications granted to businesses.
• Any complaints received at the county level.
• Any warnings issued to certified businesses.
• And, if any certifications have been revoked.
The CDPHE notes that businesses may receive only one warning for noncompliance before having their certification revoked.
According to the letter, “once Archuleta County meets the disease incidence rate metric and can begin implementing the program, CDPHE will be reviewing your metrics within 14 days to determine continued participation in the program.”
The letter also notes that if Archuleta County sees a significant rise in cases, percent positivity or hospitalizations, the CDPHE may suspend the 5 Star program.
Additionally, the program will be suspended if the ICU hospital capacity reaches 90 percent in the county.
According to a graph attached in the letter, Archuleta County’s ICU hospitalization capacity was at 64 percent as of Jan. 27.
For more information on the program and how to apply, visit the Pagosa Springs Community Development Corporation website at: https://pagosaspringscdc.org/business-in-pagosa-springs/5-star-program/.