LOGAN – With coronavirus infection rates soaring in Cache Valley, the City of Logan is teaming up local businesses to promote COVID-19 safety precautions.
“Our goal is to encourage our community to follow state health guidelines,” City Council Chair Amy Anderson explains, “by showing that we care for … and are striving to protect both the community and our economy.”
Amy Anderson calls the new alliance with businesses a “refinement” of the city’s previous “Less than 10: Flatten the Curve” education program. The plan calls for the city to partner with businesses that have joined the “Stay Safe to Stay Open” campaign sponsored by the Utah Chamber of Commerce to create social media content emphasizing the need for COVID-19 safety measures.
“Utilizing some CARES Act funding,” Amy Anderson says, “we will work with local business leaders who … have taken the pledge and already have a social media presence to create short videos on what they are doing to keep customers and clients safe.”
The new city initiative is being managed by council member Mark Anderson, the co-owner of Anderson Seed and Garden on Center Street.
Having previously joined the “Stay Safe to Stay Open” campaign, Mark Anderson told his fellow council members that the first video had already been completed at his personal expense to preserve about $7,000 in available CARES Act funding for use by other participating businesses. The business owner called the process of making the 30- to 40-second video “fun.”
The Utah Chamber of Commerce says that its “Stay Safe to Stay Open” campaign seeks to educate, inform and help businesses communicate to their consumers that they have pledged to follow safety guidance from the Utah Department of Health.
Logan’s first official reaction to the coronavirus outbreak was a strict 30-day mask mandate imposed by Mayor Holly Daines on Aug. 1. That policy was followed by the city’s “Less than 10: Flatten the Curve” educational program emphasizing the need for coronavirus precautions, which was the centerpiece of a kinder, gentler mask policy approved by the city council members on Aug. 18.
The “Less than 10” campaign featured public service announcements in September and October by local officials promoting the wearing of face coverings via print media, radio and social media, plus awards to businesses that encourage their customers to follow COVID-19 precautions.
The education program’s name proved ironic, however, since both statewide and local coronavirus infection rates began to soar almost simultaneously with its implementation.
On Thursday, for example, state officials reported 2,807 new coronavirus cases in Utah, while the local Bear River Health Department cited 109 new cases: 67 in Cache County and 42 in Box Elder County.
Those statistics led council members to question the effectiveness of the “Less than 10” program at their regular meeting on Oct. 20. Suggestions for revisions to the program at that time included ideas for signage along Main Street.
But city officials insist that the “Less than 10” initiative was successful in that it raised public awareness that coronavirus safety precautions were not limited to the wearing of face coverings.
Amy Anderson says that the city’s new program will continue that educational effort by emphasizing the increased need for safety precautions in the midst of Utah’s ongoing public health crisis.
“We will also be creating e-mail blasts,” she adds. “Those messages will explain the new Utah health guidance levels and what they mean at all three (infection rate) levels – high, moderate and low.
“They will also stress the need to wear masks regardless of the level at any establishment that allows public gathering, such as live events, movie theaters, sporting contests, weddings, recreational gatherings and other forms of public entertainment.”