5 Star Certification Program

5 Star Framework Resources Sample Applications

5 Star Certification in El Paso County, CO

See the list of 5 Star certified businesses here.

UPDATE: March 3, 2021

5 Star certified businesses in El Paso County can immediately begin operating at Level Blue guidelines within the state’s COVID-19 dial framework.

What does Level Blue mean for certified businesses?

Certified businesses can enjoy increased capacity limits at one level higher on the state’s COVID-19 dial framework. However, to move from Level Yellow to Level Blue, the state needed to achieve a 70% vaccination rate among those 70 years and older. Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) informed El Paso County on March 2 that this metric has been achieved and that our local businesses are now eligible to operate within Level Blue.

In Level Blue, restaurants can have up to 50% or 175 persons, or up to 225 people, using the space calculator. See capacity requirements for all types of businesses at Level Blue here.

Already certified?

Your business can begin operating at Level Blue immediately. This is an automatic move: there are no additional steps you need to take within the certification process.

Not yet certified?

The 5 Star Certification application remains open. This webpage is intended to help you learn more about the requirements and process, determine if it is a good fit for your business and if so, apply.


What is the 5 Star Certification Program?

Colorado’s 5 Star Certification Program encourages businesses to implement safety measures beyond what is already required by public health orders and guidelines. It allows participants to operate at the next-lower level of restrictions on Colorado’s COVID-19 dial. The program is completely voluntary and optional. 

CDPHE developed the framework for the 5 Star Certification Program. El Paso County, City of Colorado Springs, Colorado Springs Chamber & EDC, Town of Calhan, City of Fountain, Town of Green Mountain Falls, City of Manitou Springs, Town of Monument, Town of Palmer Lake, and Town of Ramah are providing tools and resources to launch the state’s program and ensure businesses have the option to become certified. We have built a strong support system and are ready to guide your business through the state-regulated certification process if you choose to do so.

Apply for Certification

There are five steps to applying, including two steps prior to filling out your mitigation plan and application form.


  • Review CDPHE’s certification framework to determine if the program is a good fit for your business. Pursuing certification is voluntary and optional.
  • Restaurants: see an at-a-glance graph of your industry-specific requirements from the state here.




  • Save your completed mitigation plan and application to your device.


Pronto proporcionaremos versiones en inglés y español de todos los documentos. Mientras tanto, para obtener orientación en español, comuníquese con Pikes Peak SBDC al 719-667-3803.

Next Steps

  • Once your application has been reviewed and approved, you will be contacted about scheduling an inspection.
    • The inspection and certification process will be implemented by the county’s third-party vendor, SAFEbuilt, with oversight from the 5 Star Certification Program Administrative Committee.
    • SAFEbuilt will also be responsible for reinspection and enforcement of the program requirements.

Resources, Complaints, and Contact Info

  • Find a comprehensive list of local and state 5 Star Certification and small business resources here.
  • Businesses: If you have submitted your application and are not satisfied with your certification experience, file a complaint here.
  • Customers: If you experience a 5 Star Certified business not following the guidelines, you may file a complaint here. This is for filing a complaint against a 5 Star Certified business only.
    • Customers may also file a complaint with the State of Colorado here.
  • Have a question? Email [email protected].

Sales Tax Rebate Program

In addition to Colorado’s 5 Star program, the City of Colorado Springs and El Paso County recently established a sales tax rebate program.
  • Qualifying restaurants in El Paso County can get back $700/month of the 1% general sales tax from July 2020 to Feb. 2021.
  • Qualifying restaurants in Colorado Springs can get back up to $2,100 a month: $700/month from El Paso County, as well as $1,400/month from the City of Colorado Springs.
Restaurants need to have had a 5% or greater decrease in revenue from Q3 2019 compared to Q3 2020. Your business must be in compliance and current with sales tax filings. If you aren’t current, you can bring your restaurant current and still apply. Apply today.

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