Denver Announces H2 as 5 Star Audit Partner

Jul 19, 2021

DENVER – On Thursday, January 14th, the City and County of Denver (CCD) received approval from the State of Colorado Department of Public Health & Environment (CDPHE) to implement the 5 Star Certification Program. Based on rigorous certification, inspection, and compliance, Denver’s program will allow participating businesses to accelerate their re-opening amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

“Being approved for the 5 Star Program will not only boost Denver’s economic recovery, but it will also go a long way to support local businesses and workers who are struggling to get through this pandemic,” said Mayor Michael B. Hancock. “I want to thank our partners – including VISIT DENVER, H2 Manufacturing Solutions, and others – for joining with us to move this critical effort forward, creating additional relief for our local businesses while keeping everyone in our city safe and healthy.”

The Denver 5 Star 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 expand operational capacity, which helps Denver’s overall economy recover.

The city plans to open applications soon and will begin pre-certifying businesses at that time. However, it is essential to note that CCD must maintain seven days of stable or declining Orange Level metrics defined by CDPHE before the program can be fully implemented. CCD will be notified by CDPHE when Denver meets the criteria to proceed with the program and certified businesses are permitted to operate at reduced restrictions.

Currently, Denver County is not meeting a two-week cumulative incidence rate of less than 350/100,000 population. The two-week cumulative rate is presently at 526/100,000. CCD expects to announce when applications will be accepted and provide more detailed information next week.

Per State guidelines, business sectors eligible to apply for the 5 Star program are General Business, Personal Services, Indoor Events, Restaurants, and Gyms. Other business sectors that have decreased capacity limits due to public health restrictions may be eligible as well. Businesses will complete an online application and submit a nominal fee as payment.

To ensure a high level of service to the thousands of eligible applicants who may apply, the city has entered into a partnership with VISIT DENVER and H2 Manufacturing Solutions (H2). Through this partnership, VISIT DENVER is serving as a fiscal agent and support for logistics, and H2 is the third-party contractor that will administer the program. H2 was instrumental in developing this safety system and is well-positioned with expertise and systems to oversee the program implementation.

H2 will train qualified volunteers and city staff to review applications and conduct site audits required for certification. The program is looking for business owners with current employees who can allocate time to this effort as a volunteer. A general citywide call for volunteers is not in effect at this time. Businesses can email if they have staff to allocate to the program for a minimum of 20 hours per week for five weeks.

Denver’s success in this endeavor will rely on a solid partnership with the private sector, something the City and County of Denver have long valued and is incredibly appreciative of. As a demonstration of this, Denver has created a governing Administrative Committee for the Denver 5 Star Program comprised of elected officials, city staff, private sector and nonprofit organizations, and other partners in public health and business support.

“The vitality of Denver businesses aligned with the health and safety of our community is our primary focus,” said Eric Hiraga, Denver Economic Development & Opportunity’s Executive Director. “Our team is working diligently with the private sector on making 5 Star Certification a reality in Denver so that our residents can get back to work and our businesses can rise out of this pandemic.”

Denver will assist those who may have language or cultural barriers in applying and becoming certified and is committed to making this process as accessible and equitable as possible.

For additional and most up-to-date information on the Denver 5 Star Program information, please visit

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