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Guest column: Creating a COVID-safe RR in reopening

RIO RANCHO, N.M. — To our beloved community of Rio Rancho:

In the coming days, some parts of our community and economic fabric may begin to gradually reopen with certain relaxations of the ‘stay-at-home’ advisory. I would like to encourage you to start to plan ahead.

Business Leaders: As you look to ramp up operations, it is important that you take proactive steps to make sure your employees, customers and suppliers feel comfortable and safe. Please make the investment now to study both state and federal guidelines and requirements from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Occupational Safety and Health Administration, State of New Mexico and other applicable authorities.

Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham is developing COVID Safe Practices (CSPs) for employers. Baseline CSP guidance is available now with industry-specific CSPs forthcoming.

We are posting updated CSP information to the city’s website at rrnm.gov/COVID19. It, too, would be of utmost value to review your industry’s best practices and resources from trade association(s).

Guidance and requirements will undoubtedly evolve, yet pre-planning will provide a strong starting point for you to implement a COVID-safe environment that will help your business thrive in this forthcoming recovery phase.

Employees: Front-line essential employees have surely been the unheralded champions of this journey. As we start to return to work, all employees will play a role in ensuring COVID-safe workplaces.

Please be sure to adhere to the procedures and programs your employers put in place. By doing so, you will be part of the solution in both a public-health and economic sense.

Residents: You are the core reason for Rio Rancho being a great place to call home. I call on you to continue to show consideration and tolerance as an inclusive community.

You have helped keep the case count down in Rio Rancho. Please continue to support your local businesses and shop in Rio Rancho for your essential needs.

Every penny makes a difference in our budget, along with helping local businesses recover.

“See something, say something”: I do believe that most businesses, employees and residents alike all want to do the right thing. It starts first with all of us — wearing our masks, washing our hands and more.

I would encourage all of us to speak up if we see something that is deviating from anticipated or required COVID-safe practices. For example, if you visit a business establishment, asking to speak with a manager/supervisor in the moment would provide for more immediate and meaningful corrective action.

I would wager that the fellow patrons, other employees and business owner/manager would appreciate it.

In closing, I would like to emphasize that we continue to take this situation seriously. Adapting to and dealing with this new paradigm may test our patience.

However, we have made a lot of progress over the past eight weeks. Our individual accountability and actions will deliver a positive collective outcome.

Let us all remain vigilant and committed to the safeguards that will ensure additional forward progress in this journey.

(Gregg Hull was elected to his second term as mayor in March 2018.)

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