RALEIGH, NC (WNCN) – North Carolina businesses eagerly wait for Governor Roy Cooper to move the state into Phase 2 of reopening. While they wait, some will voluntarily participate in a ‘Count On Me NC’ training.
The training was scheduled to launch Tuesday. It came as a partnership between the North Carolina Restaurant and Lodging Association, the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services, NC State Extension and Visit NC.
NCRLA said the module was developed with help from public health officials and food experts. NC State Extension developed the online modules. They run about 30 minutes.
Five different training modules were listed on the Count On Me NC website- Restaurant: Owners and Operators, Restaurant: Front of House Staff, Restaurant Back of House Staff, All Business: Cleaning and Disinfecting Surfaces for COVID-19 Management, and Hospitality and Other Businesses. Each provides training specific to a position and industry.
“Customers will appreciate the commitment of our restaurants, hotels and other businesses to protect their health, the health of other patrons, and the health of our employees by following the guidance of top medical experts in cleaning and sanitizing public spaces. At the same time, the presence of hand sanitizer and other cues will remind them to do their part to limit risk to their companions, fellow consumers and the people serving them,” said Lynn Minges, NCRLA’s president and CEO.
Once completed businesses can print out a certificate and display it at their location. The ultimate goal is for the program to instill confidence for not only tourists to return but local residents too.
“Our research has shown that there’s a lot of fear out there. There’s fears that travelers have that they don’t want to go and get sick, they don’t want to bring the sickness. There’s also fears that the residents in areas have. They’re not sure they want visitors coming in, even though there’s an economic benefit to that. There’s a fear that they(tourists) will bring in the virus,” Wit Tuttle, director at Visit NC said.
Tuttle said the state has already lost an estimated $3 billion in spending. He projected $185 million lost in local and state tax revenue.
So far, Tuttle said about 50 business have signed up to complete the Count on Me training sessions. He hopes to bring more businesses onboard.
“It’s really thorough. It talks about different surfaces, how to clean them, it talks about what types of cleaners you can use, how long the cleaners have to sit before you wipe it,” said Tuttle.
In Monday’s coronavirus briefing, Governor Roy Cooper said, “We will keep a close on eye on what is happening in Georgia and South Carolina to make determinations about us going into additional phases.”
When the state moves into Phase 2 of reopening, Tuttle said businesses need to be prepared with operating with new health concerns in mind.
“We’re trying to do this program to get tourism back going but to get it back going in the right way. We want to make sure everyone knows this is done properly and there are a lot of good reasons to do that,” Tuttle said.
The training is free. Click here to sign up.
Restaurateurs will be asked to:
- Encourage staff to complete the Count On Me NC training
- Print the certificate of completion and access the marketing toolkit
- Display the certificate and window decal at their restaurants
- Display the Count on Me NC logo on their website/app and link to countonmenc.org
Count on Me NC asks customers to do their part to ensure a safe and healthy environment.
What You Can Do
- Wear a cloth face covering like a mask or scarf.
- Wait your turn by maintaining six feet of physical distance from others.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or use hand sanitizer.
- Use contactless delivery or takeout options if you have been recently exposed to, or have symptoms of, COVID-19.
- Be patient and kind to staff and other guests as we all try to adjust to a new normal.
The public is also asked to the take the Count on Me NC pledge. Click here to learn more about the program.