Colorado 5-Star State Certification Program: What to Know
Top Takeaway: How gyms are using the Colorado 5-Star State Certification Program to accelerate their reopening and safeguard against severe capacity restrictions.
The COVID-19 pandemic has proved challenging for gym operators to navigate on a number of fronts. One source of frustration has been capacity restrictions, which can shift on a dime if a county or state experiences a surge in cases.
Gyms in Colorado have a program that could help accelerate their reopening and safeguard against severe capacity restrictions. That program is the Colorado 5-Star State Certification, which was expanded after first being introduced in June 2020.
According to the Colorado of Public Health & Environment, the program “encourages businesses to implement safety measures beyond what is already required by public health orders and guidelines that will help slow the spread of COVID-19. In doing so, businesses will be able to accelerate their reopening.” Certified businesses are also eligible for less restrictive capacity caps.
To be certified, gyms must reside in a county or municipality that is participating in the program such as Douglas County, which began certifying businesses as of December 23, 2020.
According to JoAnna Masloski, the COO of Wellbridge and an advisory board member for the Colorado Fitness Coalition, the Colorado 5-Star State Certification program is a direct result of the coalition’s efforts to reward “good actors” during the COVID-19 crisis.
The program was crafted by the coalition utilizing components of another program of the state to specifically award businesses that have gone above and beyond in sanitation, safety and air flow with reduced capacity restrictions. This proposal by the fitness industry was then expanded to other industries.
“In pitching the program to the state we were careful not to offer criteria that would cost businesses significant amounts of money, as most businesses impacted are already at a breaking point — i.e., HVAC air flow improvement having an option as easy as opening windows and doors all the way to minimum maintenance of the systems, versus having to change to air filters that may require a new or improved HVAC unit,” said Masloski.
According to CPR News, the program has been so popular that officials in Utah, Michigan and Canada have expressed interest in implementing similar programs.
On Feb 6, counties across Colorado moved to a less restrictive level of the state’s COVID-19 dial system, which will allow for gyms and restaurants to operate at increased capacities.
Masloski said the fact the state is reopening faster than expected can be bittersweet for those businesses that have worked hard to achieve the criteria of the 5-Star Program, as they don’t get the benefit of being “exclusive” in reduced capacity at this time. “However, that could happen in the case that a county has to go backwards in the dial or once a county has been at a certain level for more than seven days and the county allows certified businesses to then go to the next level on the dial,” she added.
At the end of the day, Masloski believes the program has been a positive tool overall for moving the state forward. “5-Star businesses are taking additional precautions to keep everyone safer in all industries, which helps us slow transmission and have healthier communities all around,” she said.