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Pledging protocols: Pure Michigan program encourages tourism safety during pandemic

Dave Lorenz, vice president and state travel director for Travel Michigan, visits Rippling River Resort and Campground on June 25. Lorenz made the trip to Rippling River, as well as other Upper Peninsula recreation destinations, to spread the message of safe traveling in the COVID-19 pandemic. (Journal photo by Christie Mastric)

MARQUETTE — Pure Michigan is encouraging businesses, visitors and local communities to take the Pure Michigan Pledge as part of its “Two Peninsulas, One Pure Michigan” message of strength and unity across the state during COVID-19.

The pledge is a promise to uphold local safety protocols and travel guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to travel safely this summer season and beyond.

“We know residents and visitors alike are ready to get back to exploring and making memories all across Michigan — whether that is a day at the lake, a local craft beverage or a hike through the woods,” said Dave Lorenz, vice president of Travel Michigan, part of the Michigan Economic Development Corporation, in a news release. “We also know that health is a top priority, and we want people to know the tourism industry is taking safety seriously.”

Lorenz visited the Upper Peninsula, including the Marquette-based Rippling River Resort and Campground, in June.

“We need to get traveling again,” Lorenz told The Mining Journal during his visit. “It’s good for our souls. It’s good for our economy. It’s good for jobs. It’s good for a better understanding of each other.”

The Pure Michigan Pledge outlines seven steps businesses in the travel industry will take to ensure a safe environment for travelers. These steps include following CDC guidelines, wearing face coverings in all required and otherwise appropriate areas, keeping high-touch surfaces clean, practicing social distancing, use of credit and debit cards as much as possible, providing adequate supplies of soap and sanitizer to employees and visitors, and staying home if there are any signs of illness.

The steps of the pledge were developed with input from more than 350 tourism industry professionals across the state, according to Pure Michigan, with participating businesses able to display a Pure Michigan Pledge badge on their property entrance. This badge will come in several forms, including signs, stickers and guideline posters.

A downloadable toolkit is available to businesses and travelers to detail what safety measures and precautions are being implemented to ensure they’re a safe destination to visit. The toolkit can be accessed at michigan.org/puremichiganpledge.

Restart program available

The Michigan Small Business Restart Program still is available to help small businesses and nonprofits working to recover from the ongoing impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The deadline for Restart Grant Applications is 11:59 p.m. today.

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer on Friday signed into law an amendment to the program. This will allow small businesses that received grants through the Michigan Small Business Relief program to be eligible for the Michigan Small Business Restart Program grants.

The grants can be up to $20,000 with the combined total of both grants not to exceed $20,000.

A total 30% of the funding from the state of Michigan’s $100 million grant program is to be awarded to eligible women-, minority- or veteran-owned businesses.

Information on how to apply, as well as eligibility criteria and program guidelines, can be found at michiganbusiness.org/restart.

Christie Mastric can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 250. Her email address is cbleck@miningjournal.net

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