In May, the League City Turnaround Taskforce—a group of residents, business owners and city leaders promoting economic recovery during the coronavirus outbreak—created a workplace protection pledge local businesses can take to encourage responsibly managing what has become a global pandemic. So far, over 80 businesses have taken the pledge, and more are taking it every week, said Scott Livingston, the city’s economic development director and a task force member.
“This is a pledge that businesses can voluntarily take to show they are adopting safe practices that will benefit their employees, their businesses and their customers,” Livingston said. “We’re trying to undergird and support and promote our local businesses—the ones that are being safe.”
The pledge states those who take it will stay informed of the latest recommended health and safety guidelines, sanitize facilities frequently, provide personal protective equipment and sanitation tools to staff, and take any necessary steps to protect residents. Those who take the pledge are given a poster and a yard sign that can be displayed showing their commitment, Livingston said.
“We want to highlight the businesses that are making a commitment ... to make it a safe place for citizens so we can mitigate the spread of COVID-19,” he said.
Alpine Rose Salon owner Holly King, an early adapter of the pledge, said the effort is a smart one.
“League City is all about trying to help small business and keep things moving,” she said. “I think it was genius on their part to do it.”
Manish Maheshwari, owner of Coco Crepes, Waffles & Coffee and Little Bella Mia in League City, was the first to take the pledge. For him, it was a matter of building trust with his customers, Maheshwari said.
“At the end of the day, we need to make sure the customer who walks in ... feels comfortable,” he said.
Cindy Tran, owner of Bay Colony Nails Spa, took the pledge June 25 for similar reasons.
“With the impact COVID-19 is having on everyone, we believe that it is best that we provide the safest facility for our staff and clients so that we can continue to keep the business open,” she said. “Also, it’s a way to promote local businesses since us and many more are going through a rough time.”
Business owners Community Impact Newspaper spoke to said they were already doing the things the pledge required before taking it. Still, taking the pledge shows residents they are treating the pandemic seriously, owners said.
Not long after businesses began taking the pledge, case counts began to surge, but business owners said the pledge effort is still making a difference in terms of awareness.
“I think, as an owner, it just shows that [businesses] are willing to go above and beyond,” King said.
The goal of the pledge is to avoid another economic shutdown, which could be devastating for local businesses, Livingston said.
“We can’t handle financially going to another shutdown,” said Jula Tragni, the owner of Cakes by Jula, another business that took the pledge. “The businesses took it pretty hard the first time around, so doing it another time is gonna wipe a few of them out.”
Business owners said customers seem supportive or at least indifferent to the pledge and its requirements, though some have expressed issues with being required to wear a mask before Gov. Greg Abbott made wearing one in public a statewide mandate.
“A few people grumbled, but they get over it,” Tragni said.
Business owners encouraged others to take the pledge.
“I personally think that we all should,” Maheshwari said. “If we want to keep the city open, we need to do our part.”