A group led by Commissioner Cindy Carpenter of businesses, the health department and others dedicated to helping businesses operate recommended the program. She said the kits will be tailored to the different types of businesses and will contain things like health district-recommended cleansers and instructions for how often to sanitize.
“Part of our concern in our CARES committee is that the public-facing businesses aren’t using the right products,” Carpenter said. “If you look online or listen to the TV there’s all kinds of things out there that are supposed to kill the virus. But according to the professionals the county uses and the health department uses, there are truly specific products that are better than others. We would like to provide a starter kits along with educational materials.”
The commissioners also recently funded the group’s $225,000 public awareness program that is being managed by the Butler County Visitors Bureau. The group is reinforcing mask-wearing, hand-washing and six-feet distancing.
Commissioner Don Dixon said there are so many variables in this pandemic it made sense to start slow with the COVID-19 specialist program.
“We’re in uncharted territory with how everybody is going to react and what requirements are going to change from day-to-day on the COVID directives coming from Columbus or higher up,” Dixon said.
Dixon said smaller business will likely benefit most from the help. Some businesses might also be hesitant about working with government officials, he said.
“We came to an agreement that for the level we were at, that this was appropriate for the crisis as it stands now,” said Commissioner T.C. Rogers.
Bailer also received $269,000 from the commissioners’ CARES Act allotment to hire two more nurses. There have been 3,301 confirmed cases and 69 deaths since the pandemic struck in March, in the county of almost 400,000 residents.
The nurses are helping with the disease investigation efforts, identifying “hot spots” and tracking the disease in the community. Bailer said the two COVID-19 specialist positions will add more help.
“We think they’ll be able to meet the need and work well with our businesses to continue promoting safe operating procedures,” Bailer said. “We look forward to hiring as soon as possible, once the money is received.”