Guest opinion: Business & consumers: Stay safe to stay open

Derek Miller 02

Initially the state put in place a “stay safe, stay home” directive to navigate us through the urgent phase of the coronavirus pandemic.  We are now into stabilization, with businesses and consumers needing guidance to follow as we re-engage economically.

The new theme, Stay Safe to Stay Open, speaks to both sides of the economic relationship.  In order for our economy to reactivate and recover, both businesses and consumers must work together through safe practices. Staying safe and protecting the high-risk is something we can control.

Businesses need to screen their employees every day and ensure that they have the proper personal protective equipment to serve their customers.  The state innovatively created the “Healthy Together” app that keeps track of symptoms and sends prompts that encourage you to do a self check-up. For small businesses consistent usage of the app could be part of your safe to work protocols.  

Employees and consumers should wear masks while engaged with one another or  keep physical distance to maintain a safe environment. Retail and restaurants should post signs of store policy regarding masks to ensure high standards are publicly known and kept. For example, Smith’s created a culture of safety by allowing shopping hours for Seniors, requiring associates to wear masks and limiting store capacity. 

While retail stores may not have adequate masks in supply, the Governor created an initiative “A Mask For Every Utahn” to assist in this important protective equipment. Simply request a mask for yourself or your family and they will be shipped to you free of charge. Those businesses needing additional PPE can find a list of Utah Vendors to source locally to avoid potential supply chain disruption. Wearing a mask while engaging in public commerce not only protects you, but others and shows why Utahns are good neighbors. 

Everyone should remember to keep their hands clean, practice social distancing, and at the first sign of feeling ill, self-quarantine and call their health care professional. We have worked hard to get this far, and if we continue to look out for each other we can remain open and reactivate our economy, together. If the coronavirus has taught us anything it’s that we’re better working together.  This spirit of cooperation helped us bend the curve of the virus, and now, as we reactivate the economy, it will be as important as ever. No amount of government declarations can anticipate every contingency, however we can be personally responsible to protect ourselves and others.

Both businesses and consumers have a stake in the outcome.  In fact, as government officials locally and nationally talk about data-driven decisions, we can drive the data through our actions. Individual efforts to follow guidance and stick to the Utah Leads Together plan will move the economic and health numbers in our collective favor. 

We must continue to support one another.  If you are a customer in an establishment, and concerned that best practices are not being followed, don’t hesitate to say something. Employers and employees, keep your stores and offices clean and disinfect high-touch surfaces often.  Sick leave policies should be flexible. Businesses should have one steward to coordinate coronavirus efforts, and temperatures should be taken as employees arrive at work. Likewise, everyone should do an assessment before leaving home each day. If you are not feeling well, call your supervisor and then your medical professional.   

I encourage everyone to visit both the state and Chamber sites to take advantage of the resources available. As we each practice common sense and good hygiene we will build a sustainable roadmap to the recovery phase in Utah Leads Together. This is how we can Stay Safe to Stay Open!