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Douglas County among first to seek approval for business “lifeline” variance from CDPHE

Eligible Douglas County businesses may begin the local certification process on Friday, Dec. 18 at Noon.


Douglas County today was among the first to submit the required application and letters of support to the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) seeking a variance that, if approved, will allow increased occupancy for local businesses – including restaurants.


Known as the 5 Star State Certification Program or the 5 Star Variance Program by the CDPHE, the program in Douglas County will be known as the COVID Best Practices Business Certification Program. Businesses that seek and achieve successful certification through the County’s program will receive designation as a Certified COVID Best Practices Business. The program encourages businesses to implement COVID safety measures beyond what is already required, and thus accelerate their increased capacity.


Interested businesses may enroll for certification through the County’s website, beginning Friday, Dec. 18, at Noon.


Businesses may not act on their successful certification status until the CDPHE approves the County’s application for the variance. This new state program, administered at the County level, is open to all eligible businesses in Douglas County.


The County’s application, was submitted in collaboration with and with the support of Tri-County Health Department, hospitals, business community leadership, law enforcement and municipalities, including: the Castle Rock Chamber, City of Castle Pines, Castle Rock Economic Development Council, City of Lone Tree, Douglas County Libraries, Highlands Ranch Community Association, Highlands Ranch Metro District, Town of Castle Rock, Town of Parker, Parker Chamber of Commerce, and the Northwest Douglas County Chamber & Economic Development Corporation.


“Tri-County Health Department appreciates all of our Douglas County partners who have dedicated so much of their time and resources to develop Douglas County’s certification program so quickly. Through proactive planning, the County was able to quickly respond to the State’s new framework. Although this is a challenging time to implement a new approach like this one given the current high rates of infection, we think the program strikes a good balance of protecting the public’s health and supporting the economic well-being of our local businesses who have sustained such a big economic impact over the past nine months” said Dr. John M. Douglas, executive director.

“Once the State approves the County’s variance application, a certified business will be authorized to open under their COVID Best Practices Certification designation in Douglas County,” said County Commissioner Roger Partridge.


“We really do see this as a lifeline for our business community and have been working for weeks, advocating to the state for the needs of our restaurants, in particular, who are making it clear they are willing to invest in additional COVID-19 safety measures in exchange for a return to indoor dining,” said County Commissioner Lora Thomas.


“We’re pleased the state has listened to us, honored our request, and is working with Douglas County to implement a local program, providing a clear path to protect both lives and livelihoods,” said County Commissioner Abe Laydon. “We are also grateful for the partnership among community leaders which accelerated the creation of this process for our business community.”

Consumers will be able to view a list of certified businesses by visiting