Guide released for reopening local economy


Local officials released today a packet of information to help guide the reopening of the local economy.

The “Together We Thrive” packet is being sent to local businesses and companies. It will also be available at the Jasper Chamber of Commerce and the Dubois County Chamber of Commerce, for those who did not receive one.

Officials in Ferdinand, Huntingburg, Jasper and the county worked together as the Re-Open Dubois County Task Force to develop the packet to give businesses suggestions and recommendations for reopening their doors. It follows the state’s announced plan to reopen the state’s economy.

“This task force has developed a comprehensive community initiative, known as ‘Together We Thrive,’ to address challenges impacting our cities and the county as a whole,” states a letter in the packet. “Supporting local is always an important cause, but never more than now. We are all in this together and together we will thrive again.” The letter is signed by Dubois County Commissioner Chad Blessinger, Jasper Mayor Dean Vonderheide, Huntingburg Mayor Denny Spinner and Ferdinand Town Manager Chris James.

The packet suggests that each business location have a safe start kit. The kit should include cloth face coverings, hand soap, disposable towels, hand santizer, sanitizing wipes, thermometers, gloves, social distancing signage and barriers to be used when applicable.

Current policies and practices should be reviewed to ensure that they meet the needs of the workforce and business during the transition back to work; new policies may also need to be created, especially those that would limit the spread of COVID-19 and cover protocol for if an employee gets the virus. The task force also suggests that plans should also be in place for employee screenings, for employees who are fearful of returning to work or for employees who are in what has been stipulated as vulnerable populations.

The information suggests best practices for prepping a facility, preparing the workforce, controlling access to the facility, creating a social distancing plan, increasing cleaning and increasing communications with employees. It also gives tips to protect employees’ physical and mental health, and includes phone numbers for mental health resources and local sources for supplies.

“The suggestions and recommendations are simply that — they do not encompass every industry, but rather represent a robust starting point for how general businesses can operate again safely, while protecting employees and customers,” the letter states.

The packet breaks down each of Indiana’s five stages for reopening the state, called “Back on Track Indiana.” It explains the directives under the different categories listed in the plan. Those categories are all Hoosiers; manufacturing, industrial and construction; state, county and local government; office settings; retails, malls and commercial businesses; health care; restaurants and bars with food; bars and nightclubs; personal services (hair, nails, etc.); gyms and fitness; cultural entertainment, sports venues, tourism; playground, water parks, amusement, etc.; and other facilities not listed in the other categories.

“The work and direction of the Re-Open Dubois County Task Force will evolve as conditions improve and as resources become available,” the letter states. “Depending on the direction from state and local health department officials, indicators may dictate a lengthening or even a regression to more stringent guidelines.”

See the full Together We Thrive packet here: Together We Thrive Campaign.pdf

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