GADSDEN, Ala. (WBRC) - The Gadsden Area Chamber of Commerce has started a program to keep the area safe, but reopen its economy at the same time.
The program is called ReStart Etowah.
It’s aimed at businesses that closed or narrowed operations during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The chamber hands out blue ribbons to be cut for “re-opening celebrations,” as well as a safety pledge to sign and place in a front window, vowing to adhere to all Alabama Department of Public Health guidelines in operating their businesses safely and practicing social distancing.
The chamber itself was the first business to take the pledge, and to hold a re-opening celebration.
“The blue ribbon reopening signifies not only ‘I’m reopening,’ but 'I’m reopening in a safe and responsible manner, that we’re conscious there’s still a disease out there, it’s still contagious, but we are going to make every effort to keep you safe, and to restart our economy at the same time,” says Gadsden Chamber President Heather New.
The pledge has five check boxes:
__To abide by guidelines and recommendations set forth by the Alabama Department of Public Health and local health officials.
__To actively ensure recommended workplace cleanliness and hygiene protocol.
__To ensure staff is adhering to recommended workplace cleanliness and hygiene measures.
__To protect customers from unneccessary exposure."
New says so far some 30 businesses that are chamber members have signed up for the pledge, and have held blue ribbon re-openings or plan to do so in the near future.
Those businesses and agencies so far include GadRock gym, Dr. Gordon Isbell III, Advantage Properties, Lyons HR, Manpower, all three branches of WinSouth Credit Union, WinSouth Financial Services, the UPS Store, the Rainbow City and Gadsden branches of Family Savings Credit Union, American Family Care, Gadsden Surgery Center, Observer Supply, Mr. Tee's, BBVA Rainbow City branch, all three Etowah County locations of Local Joe's Trading Post, Ford Insurance Agency, Inc., BodyMaxx, the Etowah County Sheriff's Office, Touched by Grace Massage Therapy, Etowah Pregnancy Testing Center, Live Laugh Love Gift Boutique, Kindred at Home Health, Real World Dementia Training LLC, Laura Lee's on Broad, Downtown Gadsden Incorporated and the Gadsden Commercial Development Authority, Dani V. Bone and Sam D. Bone attorneys at law, Modern Woodmen of America, Sand Mountain Pest Management, RSVP of Etowah County, Kris Posey Agency, River Rocks Landing and Resort, and seven buildings that are part of the City of Attalla.
In addition to the pledge, the chamber offers webinars giving advice on business operations, and makes staff available to answer questions or find the answers to any questions about COVID-19.
Businesses are requested to download the pledge from the chamber’s website, sign and post it, and they’ll even supply the blue ribbon either curbside or by delivery.