News Flash

Summit County Government

Posted on: December 24, 2020

Summit County to Open 5 Star Program to Fitness Centers

Photo of seniors in a yoga class.

Gyms, yoga studios and other personal recreation businesses that implement added infection-prevention measures are eligible to apply, starting Monday

Contact: Nicole Valentine, Summit County Public Health

SUMMIT COUNTY – Summit County Public Health will open its 5 Star Business Certification Program to yoga studios, gyms, fitness centers, dance studios and other personal recreation businesses, as long as new COVID-19 cases among Summit County residents continue to decline.

The application process will open Monday, Dec. 28, for eligible businesses that go above and beyond current COVID-19 mitigation requirements. Certified personal recreation businesses will be allowed to increase their maximum occupancy from 10 percent of normal capacity to 25 percent.

Summit County launched its 5 Star Business Certification Program on Dec. 18, initially opening it to restaurants, which are prohibited from offering indoor dining services under Level Red public health restrictions. Restaurants that achieve certification are allowed to operate at 25 percent capacity indoors.

The number of new positive cases of COVID-19 per 100,000 Summit County residents reached an all-time high of 1,314 on Dec. 3. But the figure has since declined to 839 cases per 100,000 as of Dec. 22. The county has a ways to go to reach the Level Orange threshold of 350 cases per 100,000, but the decrease in cases represents major progress resulting from aggressive measures to contain the spread of disease. 

In light of the overall decline in local case numbers since early December, the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment approved Summit County’s application for the 5 Star program on Dec. 18. The program allows businesses that demonstrate exceptional COVID-19 mitigation measures to operate at increased capacities, relative to what is permitted under Level Red. This comes at a critical time for many fitness centers and studios, which have been struggling under Level Red’s 10 percent capacity limit.

"We are cautiously optimistic about our case numbers,” Summit County Manager Scott Vargo said. “Over the past three weeks, we’ve been heading in the right direction, and it’s especially encouraging that we didn’t see a spike in cases after Thanksgiving. Everyone’s collective hard work to stop the spread of infection is giving us another opportunity to incrementally reopen some of the businesses that have been hit hardest by the pandemic.”

Upon approval by a local inspector, the 5 Star program allows certified personal recreation facilities to operate at the capacities permitted in Level Orange on the CDPHE Dial.  This includes 25 percent of the posted occupancy limit indoors, not to exceed 25 people, excluding staff, whichever is less, per room. Outdoor recreational activities in groups of 10 people or fewer may occur. Six feet of distancing must be maintained between separate households. 

To receive 5 Star certification, personal recreation facilities must ensure the following measures are in place:

  • Masks are mandatory and enforced in workout areas and locker rooms.
  • Signs, decals and staff guidance ensure people from separate households maintain at least six feet of physical distance.
  • High-touch surfaces are sanitized regularly.
  • Employees are screened daily for COVID-19 symptoms and potential exposures.
  • Customers are screened for symptoms and exposures, and their names and contact information are recorded to support contact tracing.
  • All workouts are by reservation only.
  • There is a written plan for outbreak detection, response and exposure notification.
  • Instructions are publicly displayed for a customer to file a complaint related to violations of the public health order.
  • Extra effort has been made to provide outdoor fitness options where possible and/or to make special hours or accommodations for at-risk individuals.
  • Ventilation has been improved through HVAC improvements, HEPA filters appropriate for the space size, or opening windows or doors, with an operating fan blowing air out during business hours to maximize airflow.

Personal recreation businesses, including fitness centers, yoga studios, dance studios and gyms, can begin planning for and implementing the 5 Star criteria immediately. Applications will become available on the Summit County website by 3 p.m., Monday, Dec. 28, at www.SummitCountyCO.gov/5star. Following the submission of an application, the County or relevant Town will contact the business to schedule an inspection. Inspectors will issue a 5 Star certificate immediately upon completion of a successful inspection.

If Summit County sees a significant rise in COVID-19 cases, percent positivity or hospitalizations, the 5 Star program may be suspended. A program suspension will automatically occur by order of the state if the region reaches more than 90 percent of hospital ICU capacity. If a facility fails to follow the requirements of the program, its 5 Star certificate may be revoked at the discretion of Summit County Public Health.

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