ST. GEORGE — In an effort to promote the health and safety of residents and strengthen the St. George area economy, the St. George Area Chamber of Commerce and a broad coalition of local business leaders has launched the “Safe Southern Utah” campaign.
Joining the chamber in this campaign are numerous local businesses and organizations, including the Southern Utah Home Builders Association, the Association of General Contractors of Utah, Canyon Media, Greater Zion, Intermountain Dixie Regional Medical Center, SkyWest Airlines, Watts Construction, Dixie State University, Southwest Utah Public Health Department and others.
Businesses who participate in the campaign commit to observing the following best practices in employee and consumer safety:
- Ensure employees are wearing face masks and other personal protective equipment when needed.
- Observe social distancing, including spacing customers or clients according to state guidelines.
- Check employees daily for COVID-19 symptoms.
- Promote healthy hygiene, including frequent handwashing.
- Clean high-touch surfaces frequently.
“Businesses who take this pledge will receive a ‘Safe Southern Utah Badge’ and informational posters to display on their property as well as materials to inform customers about precautions that the business is taking to keep both employees and customers safe,” Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Don Willie said in a press release. “This campaign helps us protect the public while moving our economy forward – it’s about building consumer confidence.”
The Safe Southern Utah website will also include resources, grants and guides that will help businesses navigate the pandemic. The campaign will also utilize social media and the hashtag #SafeSouthernUtah to highlight how restaurants, shops, hotels and other venues are keeping customers and employees safe.
In a UtahPolicy.com/KUTV poll conducted earlier this year, only 58% of Utahns indicated that they felt comfortable eating out, 60% felt comfortable staying in a hotel and 38% felt comfortable going to a gym. A Destination Analysts study reported by Greater Zion indicated that fall holiday travel is projected to be roughly half of what it was in 2019, with 45% of respondents stating they are “not ready to travel” and 30% of respondents expressing “some hesitation” about traveling.
While overall air travel has experienced demand disruption nationwide, St. George Regional Airport has recovered far better than the national average. National trends show modest TSA screening recovery at about 32% by September, whereas St. George Regional had recovered at almost 80% during the same month. According to SkyWest Airlines, this recovery is in large part to the health and safety measures put in place to enhance customer confidence.
“The airline industry has taken tremendous action to ensure the health and safety of our people and customers throughout their travels, and we know those measures are effective,” SkyWest President and CEO Chip Childs said. “We have enhanced cleaning procedures on every flight, including Electrostatic Disinfectant Spraying, mandatory face coverings, crew and customer self-assessments, and more. In many ways, there’s never been a safer time to fly. We appreciate the Safe Southern Utah campaign for continuing to encourage proven practices for local health and safety.”
In addition to highlighting businesses, the Safe Southern Utah campaign invites community members to patriciate by sharing what they are doing to keep others safe. Community members are invited to download the official #SafeSouthernUtah pledge sign from www.safesouthernutah.com and handwrite what they are doing to keep their family, friends, neighbors, businesses and others safe.
“The ‘Safe Southern Utah’ campaign strikes a good balance between public health and economic vibrancy,” said Mitchell Cloward, administrator at Dixie Regional Medical Center. “We encourage all businesses to take this pledge and do their part to keep their employees and customers safe.”
Businesses interested in participating in the “Safe Southern Utah” pledge can take the pledge online. After completing the pledge, businesses can pick up their “Safe Southern Utah” signage packet at the St. George Area Chamber of Commerce between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. weekdays.
“We invite all members of our community to participate in this campaign however they can,” said Brad Buhanan, chairman of the St. George Area Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors. “Beating COVID-19 and restoring our economic strength will take all of us.”
Businesses can inquire about the campaign by emailing [email protected].