EL CENTRO – For more than two months, local governments and public health officials have been imploring the public to stay at home, avoid large gatherings, wash their hands frequently and wear a face covering in public places for the sake of controlling the spread of the novel coronavirus.
Local business leaders would like everyone to continue doing those very same things, but now to commit to it in writing.
The Imperial Valley Business Recovery Task Force is asking local residents and businesses to take its pledge to dedicate themselves to do what’s necessary to flatten the COVID-19 so that the economy can reopen.
The pledge is posted on the task force’s website at www.ivbizrecovery.com. It asks residents to commit to supporting local businesses by following health guidelines and taking responsibility for their own actions.
“In order for businesses to meet the county and state criteria for openings, the continuing spread of COVID-19 in the county must be slowed. The only way that can happen is by citizen cooperation, and we are asking everyone to take a pledge to assist,” said Katie Luna, executive director of the Brawley Chamber of Commerce and task force coordinator.
Through the pledge, residents commit to keeping themselves and the community safe and to help combat spread of COVID-19 for as long as necessary. More specifically, the pledge lists seven promises:
- “I pledge to support local business.”
- “I pledge to abide by the standards outlined by the businesses I frequent.”
- “I pledge to protect my community by taking responsibility for my actions.”
- “I pledge to wash my hands according to the CDC recommendations.”
- “I pledge to wear my face covering properly when visiting businesses.”
- “I pledge to respect social distancing of 6 feet and refrain from gathering in groups.”
- “I pledge to do my part and make a difference for Imperial Valley.”
Persons who take the pledge are being asked to print out a copy and display it.
The campaign was developed after surges in COVID-19 cases that followed gatherings over the Mother's Day weekend.
“We realize the public is tired of being cooped up in their homes, and that frustration also is shared by businesses that are suffering extreme economic losses during this pandemic,” Luna said. “But the only way we can solve this is through a united effort to stop the spread.”
The task force is a coalition of the Joint Chambers of Commerce, Imperial Valley Economic Development Corp,, the Small Business Development Center, Workforce Development Board, the Local Health Authority, and Reliance Public Relations, in addition to partnerships with local cities, various County of Imperial departments, and others.
Bill Gay, president of Reliance Public Relations, noted the task force’s primary purpose is to find ways to allow businesses to open safely by moving through the stages of the county’s Roadmap to Recovery.
“To do so, this boils down to an individual effort by all of us to help stop the spread,” he said. “We are hoping the pledge will help drive home that message.”
The idea, in effect, is to generate the public determination and unity of purpose to reach the metrics necessary to relax the restrictions on business and other activities more quickly.
“We need to increase the social acceptability for everyone to do their part, as individuals, in driving down the COVID-19 numbers so our businesses can reopen again safely and our community can again resume normal activities,” Gay said.
As for how many people he expects will take the pledge, “we would love for the numbers to expand into the thousands.”