Lona DuVall, president and CEO of the Finney County Economic Development Corporation, spoke to the Finney County Commission about guidelines that the EDC compiled on how businesses can open when they are allowed to do so.
It’s important for businesses to have a plan put together for when they can reopen, DuVall said. It’s important not just for employers and businesses, but for their employees and the consumers.
Right now businesses are looking for what they can do to prepare for their eventual reopening, whenever that is, DuVall said.
“I think the sooner we can provide them with information the better ... and the more time we can give folks to prepare, the better that is,” she said. “They're just looking for clarity and looking for the best practices that they can use going forward.”
Duvall said from her standpoint it’s not about when they will reopen, but how they can reopen. That’s the information they want to get out.
“The best we can do is to give them the best information available at a given time, which changes, the CDC guidelines for businesses reopening are still suggesting temperature checks,” she said. “While that may not be a guaranteed driver of this disease, it's still something that's being recommended.”
DuVall said they didn’t create the guidelines, they compiled them from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Kansas Department of Health and Education and from local resources of where businesses can get supplies like face masks, cleaning supplies, etc.
“This isn’t ‘here's how Finney County Economic Development or the Chamber or Downtown Vision said we should reopen,’ this is ‘here are the resources that are available to you as a business as you seek to reopen,’ ” she said.
In addition to the guidelines, they’ve included local resources that businesses can use to find things like face masks, cleaning supplies, etc., DuVall said.
They are updating the guidelines and resources continuously, DuVall said. They’re trying to make it easier for businesses to find answers and contacts.
Dr. Lindsay Byrnes, Finney County medical director, said she agrees that it’s important to have this kind of information made available to the public.
“What's really important for us going forward is for the health department to use evidence and statistics to set up gating criteria as to moving between different phases of opening,” she said. “We tell you the when and then the business guide can tell you how.”
Colleen Drees, Finney County Health Department director, suggested that before the county approved the guide as an official resource for the county, that they have either her or Byrnes’ signature and approval of the document.
“There potentially be things that we would see or have recommendations of how to proceed for businesses as well,” she said.
The commission approved a motion to approve the guide as a resource for how to reopen businesses, 3-2, with commissioners Lon Pishny and William Clifford dissenting.