Keene City Hall

The city of Keene on Wednesday announced a new initiative aimed at building consumer confidence as businesses reopen amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

The “Keene Safe” pledge asks that city businesses voluntarily commit to actions that city officials feel would help slow the spread of the virus.

According to a news release, the idea for the pledge came from the Downtown Reopening Task Force, a group within City Hall that is offering recommendations as business owners continue the process of reopening. Many of these establishments had to close down in late March when Gov. Chris Sununu issued a stay-at-home order.

Businesses that sign the pledge will be asked to require employees to wear face masks and encourage patrons to wear them, to reconfigure public spaces to allow for proper social distancing, to place alcohol-based hand sanitizer in frequented areas, to implement cleaning and disinfecting practices that meet guidelines set by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, to prevent employees with COVID-19 symptoms from coming to work and to follow current state reopening guidelines.

All of these items are already included in the state guidelines that say which safety precautions a business must take before it can reopen.

“We want people to feel comfortable working, shopping, dining and doing business here, and there are many businesses taking all of the recommended steps to keep their environments clean and safe,” City Manager Elizabeth Dragon said in the news release. “This program connects concerned citizens with responsible businesses to support healthy economic activity which is so important right now.”

Businesses that take the pledge will be given posters to display in their windows to show customers they are following health guidelines and will be listed on the Keene Safe website.

Mia Summerson can be reached at 352-1234, extension 1435, or msummerson@keenesentinel.com. Follow her on Twitter @MiaSummerson