Georgians and businesses: Commit to the Safety Promise

Diego Ternero stacks and boxes finished face masks for shipping at Georgia Expo on Thursday, April 23, 2020, in Suwanee. The company has pivoted from sewing curtains to sewing cloth face masks. As business restrictions ease, companies are preparing to open, but one key ingredient to safety has been hard to find, personal protective equipment. CURTIS COMPTON / CCOMPTON@AJC.COM
Diego Ternero stacks and boxes finished face masks for shipping at Georgia Expo on Thursday, April 23, 2020, in Suwanee. The company has pivoted from sewing curtains to sewing cloth face masks. As business restrictions ease, companies are preparing to open, but one key ingredient to safety has been hard to find, personal protective equipment. CURTIS COMPTON / CCOMPTON@AJC.COM

Since COVID-19 took hold of Georgia earlier this year, businesses and lives across the state have dramatically changed. Restaurants, retailers, hotels, tourism and entertainment venues, and other businesses that rely on direct interaction with customers have been devastated by the global pandemic. While social distancing and other public health guidelines are critical to defeat the virus, they have caused a great deal of disruption and financial hardship for businesses and their employees. From shutting down entirely to reopening under circumstances that generate less revenue and higher operating costs – none of this has been easy.

Karen Bremer
Karen Bremer

Despite a multitude of factors out of their control, Georgia businesses have remained resilient. Many have gone to great lengths to help their communities and act as a source of light during this dark time. They have also adjusted to this new lifestyle, carefully implementing and diligently following safety guidelines and requirements to protect their employees and customers from COVID-19 while keeping their doors open.

Thomas Beusse
Thomas Beusse

But, businesses can’t do this alone. It’s vital that all Georgians also follow the guidelines from the Georgia Department of Health. Last month, Gov. Brian Kemp launched an effort that encourages both businesses and the public to agree to simple, but critical, measures that will keep Georgians safe from COVID-19, minimize spread of the virus, and keep Georgia open for business: the Georgia Safety Promise.

All Georgia companies and residents are encouraged to participate in this vital public health campaign.

Jay Markwalter
Jay Markwalter

Credit: contributed

Credit: contributed

First and foremost, it’s a simple way to promote public safety and potentially save lives.

Second, it will help keep our businesses open and our employees working. For companies, it’s a free way to communicate that your business takes health and safety seriously, which will increase consumer confidence and boost sales when they are needed most.

Once businesses commit to the Georgia Safety Promise they are given access to promotional materials that show customers they are taking steps to protect their patrons and employees, as recommended by the Georgia Department of Public Health. By saying “I’m in,” a business commits to following the state’s latest safety guidelines, including enforcing social distancing, wearing face coverings, cleaning surfaces, and washing and sanitizing hands.

To date, more than 900 companies from every corner of the state have committed to the Georgia Safety Promise. Businesses and Georgians interested in joining the Georgia Safety Promise are encouraged to visit www.GeorgiaSafetyPromise.com where they can commit to the Promise.

This state is home to world-renowned restaurants, vibrant cities filled with history and culture, and nearly 800,000 small businesses. It is up to all of us to keep Georgia safe so it can continue to remain open for all to enjoy. Taking the Georgia Safety Promise is a simple, but critical way to do just that.

Karen Bremer, CEO, Georgia Restaurant Association; Thomas D. Beusse, Executive Director, Georgia Retailers Association; and Jay Markwalter, CEO, Georgia Association of Convention and Visitors Bureaus. Also contributing were Chris Clark, CEO, Georgia Chamber of Commerce; Joe Brannon, president and CEO, Georgia Bankers Association; Jim Sprouse, CEO, Georgia Hotel and Lodging Association; and Nathan Humphrey, Georgia state director, National Federation of Independent Business.