Stockton, CA (May 22, 2020) – – A group of local leaders in Stockton has established an initiative to support businesses as they transition to recovery. Launched on May 22, the Stockton Healthy Pledge program was initiated by the Stockton Business Recovery Coalition. This group of local business organizations was originally brought together by the City of Stockton Economic Development Department when orders began restricting business operations across the city in March. Led by Visit Stockton, the Stockton Healthy Pledge program is free for businesses and organizations to join. It is a voluntary pledge to affirm dedication to the health and safety of employees, customers, and visitors.
To gain perspective on the reason for an initiative of this design, one must look to research being conducted across the country in many industries. The travel industry is focused on traveler sentiment, but due to current circumstances, the research on travelers now includes questions relating to their interactions in their hometowns. When people begin to venture out, it will be close to home before traveling long distances. Research consultancy Longwoods International, supported by Miles Partnership, has been conducting surveys of U.S. Travelers’ intentions throughout the pandemic. One result from their survey on May 13 showed that only 31% of respondents agreed or strongly agreed that they, “…would feel safe dining in local restaurants and shopping in retail stores in my community.” That number means businesses have a lot of work to do to educate customers on their safety practices.
As San Joaquin County continues to lift restrictions and businesses begin to open, residents, and eventually visitors, will be looking to see what is being done to keep them safe. The pledge was created as a way for businesses to publicize the important steps they are taking to reduce the spread of COVID-19. Requiring or encouraging the use of face coverings by employees and customers, hand washing and sanitizing procedures, and many more points are outlined in the pledge. Each part of the pledge is a way in which businesses will increase the confidence of consumers while welcoming them back.
Douglass W. Wilhoit, Jr., CEO of the Greater Stockton Chamber of Commerce, strongly supports the Stockton Healthy Pledge. He shared, “We know each and every business will follow all safety measures for their employees and customers alike so this “opening” will be successful and will help to move us to a full recovery in the near future. The key to success is “working together” and those words mean so much more now as our communities and businesses begin to open and we venture back to work in many new ways.”
The Stockton Healthy Pledge program includes a toolkit that provides businesses with templates they can use to post important information for their employees, as well as customers. Additional marketing materials will be created and distributed to businesses as the program continues to evolve over the coming weeks and months. The goal is to increase communication and transparency regarding health and safety practices and support local businesses. “It is clear businesses must convey to both employees and customers the actions they are taking to lower the risk of virus spread,” said Lisa Sunday Vela, CEO of the San Joaquin County Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. “Taking the Stockton Healthy Pledge helps promote that dedication and is also a great way for businesses to establish what is expected of consumers when they return to patronize their establishments.”
To sign up, businesses are encouraged to go online to StocktonHealthyPledge.com, review the pledge guidelines, and fill out a simple contact information form to verify their participation. They are then forwarded to resources that include an official logo they can display at their place of business, marketing materials they can use in promotion of their pledge, and links to additional resources. As businesses take the pledge, they will be listed on the StocktonHealthyPledge.com website for consumers to see. It will be a resource for those looking to spend their dollars supporting businesses that are committed to a safe and healthy community.
Wes Rhea, Visit Stockton’s CEO, shared, “The Stockton Healthy Pledge program is open to all Stockton businesses and organizations. Reopening and adjusting services is not going to be easy for everyone and individuals may be overwhelmed at where to start. We are here to help.” Visit Stockton has also created a cleaning and reopening resource page on their site with links to official guidelines and recommendations for different industries. “This is just another way we can make a positive impact on the road to recovery; by giving businesses access to tools and resources to aid in their efforts.”
Members of the Stockton Business Recovery Coalition (in alphabetical order)
African American Chamber of Commerce
Business Council Inc., of San Joaquin County
Central Valley Asian-American Chamber of Commerce
City of Stockton Economic Development Department
Downtown Stockton Alliance
Greater Stockton Chamber of Commerce
Miracle Mile Improvement District
San Joaquin County Hispanic Chamber of Commerce
San Joaquin Delta College Small Business Development Center
Robyn F. Cheshire, Director of Marketing and Communications
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