Van Buren/Cass District Health Department launches webpage for businesses

CASS COUNTY — As Michigan businesses have begun to reopen in limited capacities following months of shutdowns due to the COVID-19, many local owners have been overwhelmed by confusing and ever-evolving mandates.

Last week, the Van Buren/Cass District Health Department stepped in to help business owners navigate the new territory.

The health department, which serves Cass and Van Buren counties, recently launched a page on its website, vbcassdhd.org, dedicated to providing businesses with guidance on how to reopen their doors safely to the public. The webpage provides visitors with links to guidelines set out by the state government and the requirements employers must meet, such as providing employees with masks and maintaining social distancing. The website offers sector-specific information, including industries such as child care, construction, food, education, libraries, farming, faith-based organizations and more. Additionally, the page offers information about cleaning, locating personal protective equipment, and providing sample business recovery plans for low, medium, high and very high risk employers.

“This is a dedicated webpage to help businesses reopen more safely,” said Danielle Persky, deputy health officers and health promotions director for the Van Buren/Cass District Health Department. “There is a lot of information out there, so we wanted to make it a little more accessible, and clear and concise for our two counties.”

Tuesday, Michigan retailers and auto dealerships were allowed to reopen by appointment to groups 10 or less. Friday, medical, dental and veterinary practices were allowed to resume non-emergency procedures. As COVID-19 restrictions continue to be lifted, Persky said the health department felt it was important for a webpage with all information business owners needed was made available to keep the community as healthy as possible.

“We want to be able to put safety measures in place so that we can continue to open in a thoughtful way,” she said.

In its first week up, the webpage had 1,265 views, of which 1,086 were unique page views. Persky said she is glad to see that local business owners have been taking advantage of the resource. She said the department plans to keep the webpage live as long as necessary.

“Since sending it out, we have helped out a number of people with their reopening plans and kickstarted some ideas,” Persky said. “We have no intention of taking it down anytime soon. We want to make sure that this is there for people.”

As the economy continues to reopen, Persky said it is necessary not only for businesses to keep safety in mind but for customers to do so as well.

“The best advice for customers is to continue to follow the recommended guidelines — maintaining a 6-foot distance, limiting the number of times we interact with the public,” she said. “When we go out, we need to keep these recommendations in mind to help keep everyone healthy.”

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