FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 13, 2020
Media Contact: Amy Cloud, Public Information Officer
Phone: (360) 318 - 4356
E-mail address: WUC_JIC@co.whatcom.wa.us
Whatcom County Public Health Advisory Board Employer Support Task Force provides new guidance tools
BELLINGHAM, WA – The Whatcom County Health Department and the Port of Bellingham’s Regional Economic Partnership have announced the addition of new tools to assist Whatcom County businesses and non-profit agencies in implementing COVID-19 protocols and guidance in the workplace and public settings.
Developed through the work of the Employer Support Task Force, the new additions include tools created specifically by and for various business and non-profit sectors that will facilitate Whatcom County businesses and organizations’ adherence to national, state and local requirements. The new tools include peer-to-peer tips and resources gleaned from forums, meetings and virtual open houses in which employers have shared with one another ways they are adjusting their business practices in the face of COVID-19. Peer-to-peer tools include safety practices videos, work plans, signage, and more for businesses and organizations to reference.
The peer support materials and official sector-specific guidance, which are accessible at https://www.whatcomtogether.org, will make it easier for organizations to access key information related to their specific sector so they can focus on providing safe, quality services to their customers.
“We heard early and often from businesses that they needed support in accessing, interpreting, and implementing guidance on infection control and compliance with the Safe Start requirements,” said Erika Lautenbach, director of the Whatcom County Health Department. “Through the Employer Support Task Force, businesses and organizations were able to access each others’ experience and the expertise of the Health Department staff in order to open safely and sustainably.”
Don Goldberg, director of the Regional Economic Partnership (REP), noted that a “safe business is a sustainable business and it is our hope this guidance will help businesses do that more easily. REP and the County Health Department continue to work collaboratively together to assist Whatcom County businesses work through this most challenging time.”
The Employer Support Task Force was founded in May with the goal of establishing peer support networks for Whatcom County businesses and organizations as they adjust to the evolving challenges COVID-19 has brought. Since then, the Task Force has facilitated outstanding collaboration efforts from 140 volunteers across 18 sectors. To supplement these efforts, Whatcom Together was developed to provide materials for the “Safer. Stronger. Together.” campaign, which aids businesses in procuring standardized and clear messaging about the safe business practices they are committed to following.
“The collaboration was what I appreciated the most,” says Donna Raimey of the Blaine Chamber of Commerce and member of the Employer Support Task Force. “Hearing from so many experts in their fields and having an opportunity to learn from them and share insight into my own experiences was wonderful. I also appreciated the respect that was shared in each of our meetings and the ‘team spirit’ we had as we all traveled down this unknown road together.”
The announcement comes at a time when many organizations are determining their plans for fall operations. By providing access to multiple reference tools in one place, the Employer Support Task Force has reached an important milestone in their commitment to alleviate some of the stress associated with these changes.
This information is also available as a .pdf
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