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Health department, TDC launch ‘Pledge to Protect’

By Tim Croft
The Star

The goal is to provide an incentive for businesses to take the extra steps to ensure safe and healthy visits for locals and visitors alike. 

“Pledge to Protect” was launched last week by the Florida Department of Health in Gulf County, the Gulf County Tourist Development Council and the Gulf County Chamber of Commerce to urge businesses to maintain cleanliness standards required in this COVID-19 world. 

In effect, the program, voluntary, mirrors the guidelines put in place by the governor and county upon the re-opening in Florida of short-term vacation rentals just before Memorial Day. 

The health department and TDC have launched "Pledge to Protect"

“We just want to encourage businesses to commit to clean and healthy standards,” said Sarah Hinds, administrator for the Florida Department of Health in Gulf and Franklin County. 

The health department worked with Franklin County to launch a similar program. 

The health department crafted the idea, the TDC took it from there, establishing a separate page on its visitgulf website. 

“A special thanks to the (TDC) for the creation of the logo, webpage and incentive promotion design and support,” Hinds said. 

The Gulf County Board of County Commissioners approved the program at its July monthly meeting. 

In taking the “Pledge to Protect” businesses commit to: 

*Proper use of personal protective equipment; 

*Routine cleaning and disinfecting of surfaces and equipment; 

*Practicing social distancing and minimized contact; 

*Enforcing sick employees to stay home. 

“Gulf County is committed to creating a clean, safe and healthy environment for residents and visitors as we reopen businesses and organizations following COVID-19 restrictions,” said TDC executive director Kelli Godwin. 

The TDC webpage devoted to the campaign shows those businesses who have taken the “Pledge to Protect” to protect others. 

Visitors to the page may click on any of the listings on the page to find additional details and contact information. 

The “Pledge to Protect” page emphasizes the goal of the program in this tourist destination. 

“Coronavirus doesn’t take a vacation, but it does travel. Everyone is going to have to do their part to make sure that we minimize the spread of the virus moving forward. 

“This means continuing to observe social distancing, wearing masks in places where social distancing is difficult, and following good hygiene practices. 

“Most of all, be respectful and kind to others.”