Even after approval, the 5 Star program roll out in Denver will take time

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DENVER — As the City and County of Denver waits for the state to approve its 5 Star program application, city and county leaders warn once approval comes, it could take a while to process business applications.

“We have thousands of businesses in Denver. This isn’t just a program for the hospitality industry. Many other industries can apply to be certified if they meet the requirements,” said Bob McDonald, Denver’s executive director of public health administration. “We want to focus on businesses that have experienced the greatest impact.”

McDonald said the county’s 5 Star program administrative committee is using this time to figure out a prioritization process.

“Just anecdotally, my sense is that those types of facilities that have drive-thrus and are primarily focused on drive-thru services — fast food restaurants — probably don’t need this type of program as much as full-service sit down places,” McDonald said.

For many Denver restaurant owners who are counting on the program to help them get on the road to recovery, approval and implementation of the program can’t come soon enough.

“We’re looking for the city to kick out this 5 Star program pretty quickly,” said owner of Coffee at the Point Ryan Cobbins.

Cobbins said his business just celebrated its 10-year anniversary.

For years, the coffee shop has been considered an “unofficial” gathering place in Five Points.

“On one hand we’re excited about it — we want to figure out how can we increase the capacity of the folks coming in,” Cobbins said.

To help speed up the processing of businesses’ 5 Star program applications, Visit Denver, a private nonprofit responsible for marketing in the Denver metro area, is asking for volunteers.

Volunteers will help with auditing and administrative work.