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Alaska city to honor coronavirus conscious businesses

December 16, 2020 GMT

SITKA, Alaska (AP) — An Alaska city has created a program to honor businesses that have followed or will follow public health guidelines implemented due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The COVID Conscious Business Program started by the city of Sitka will afford qualifying businesses a few rewards, such as inclusion on a distributed list of virus conscious businesses and a program certificate that can be displayed in-store, the Daily Sitka Sentinel reported Monday.

To qualify, businesses must earn at least 85 points out of 100 on its application questions, which can be found on the city’s official website. The questions serve as a baseline for coronavirus-related compliance for both customers and businesses.

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“Our intent is to set people up for success so when they fully fill out the application, they will qualify,” said Amy Ainslie, resource unit manager for the city Emergency Operations Center. “It’s basically providing guidance.”

There are 18 yes or no questions on the application, including whether a store has plexiglass to block interactions between customers and clerks, whether face coverings are required, whether daily temperatures for employees are taken and whether hand sanitizer is readily available.

Participation in the program is voluntary. Other prizes include a custom “Mask/Face Covering Required” sign exclusively offered to businesses that qualify.

While the city’s Assembly has passed resolutions encouraging residents to follow public health orders, it does not currently have a mask mandate. The former and current Assemblies have rejected various proposals for public mask requirements since the pandemic began.