Shop Safe, Shop Local, Shop Lamar Promotion Outlined

Mayor Kirk Crespin

 

“This isn’t about compliance, it’s about participation,” is the way Lamar Mayor Kirk Crespin termed a new initiative to help keep COVID-19 numbers down in Lamar.

The county is now at Level Red restrictions based on the increasing pandemic numbers registered by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment. That translates to a decrease in the size of public gatherings and a recommendation that the size of private gatherings be considered before the event.

Crespin met with Lamar Chamber of Commerce board members this past Monday, November 23rd to outline the proposal which, while still urging the public to wear masks, asks the local businesses to provide assurances to customers of their efforts to help curb the virus in their stores. His plan was also discussed that evening by the Lamar City Council.

Participation in the Safe Business Certification Program is voluntary, Crespin stressed. By following a checklist of health-oriented guidelines, the city will issue a Safe Business Certificate that store owners can print and display in a business window informing customers that safeguards are being taken to help minimize the spread of the virus and provide a Shop Safe, Shop Local and Shop Lamar environment. Following some discussion by the council, it was decided that ‘certification’ could be considered a draconian measure and a ‘pledge’ to maintain a level of safe shopping would be more applicable.

“This is a joint effort of the Chamber and City of Lamar and the Prowers County Public Health Department,” he explained, adding that PPE equipment will be supplied by the employer and are available free of charge from the city while supplies last. SECED, Southeast Colorado Enterprise Development informed local businesses earlier this year that they can offer supplies at no charge, paid for by the CARES Act.

The mayor said the main focus will be on lodging, restaurants and the retail business areas of Lamar. Regarding restaurants, Crespin said the city has optioned to purchase 12 outdoor heaters which can be loaned to restaurants that feature outdoor dining. There are currently only two, the Buzzard’s Roost and Mission Villanueva, but more may opt to offer some outdoor seating in an attempt to maintain revenue. The chamber has four heaters which they will loan to the city.

“We need to act to keep these numbers low and the make the outbreak manageable,” Crespin explained, adding that the pledge indicating business participation will be a means of showing the state health department that the community is taking steps to bring the covid numbers down. “This will be added to future mitigation plans for any variance request the county health department makes to state government.”

Businesses can copy and email their signatures on the participation document and the city will provide them with a form of acknowledging their pledge they have taken steps to provide a safe shopping environment. “We want to have this in place for the approaching holiday season.

Crespin received an assurance from the Chamber Board that they will help support this initiative as well as provide sponsorship to develop the downtown Pocket Park into an outdoor food court. “The city has discussed the idea of having mobile food vendors set up their vehicles in the parking lot to the rear of the park every Friday through Sunday. The city will set up outdoor heaters and provide space for diners who may want to dine and shop at local stores for the holidays,” he explained, adding that if the idea grows, there’s opportunity to expand into the spring and summer. “Right now, we’re just considering being open Friday through Sunday to see how well it’s received and develop plans from that,” he said.

By Russ Baldwin

Filed Under: City of LamarConsumer IssuesCOVID-19EconomyFeaturedHealthPublic Safety

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