Columbus is a city built on bold ideas; we tend to dream big and let nothing stop us from turning today’s dreams into better tomorrows. Right now, we know a lot of dreams have to do with travel, but for those to come to fruition as better tomorrows, safety is of the utmost importance. While most travel is currently on hold, it’s more important than ever to look forward.
Annually, visitors to Columbus spend $7 billion and support 78,000 jobs. In 2019, nearly $50 million in bed tax revenue was collected, which supports not only Experience Columbus, but also cultural and arts programs, social services, affordable housing programs and the Franklin County Convention Facilities Authority. We know the tourism economy is vital to the city’s recovery, so here are a of the ways Columbus is ensuring the safety of both residents and visitors.
Live Forward Pledge
The Live Forward Pledge is a commitment signed by businesses in Columbus signaling their commitment for safe reopening during the COVID-19 pandemic. Safety guidelines for proper reopening practices are set by federal, state and local health departments, and the Live Forward Pledge helps communicate what’s taking place behind the scenes. When you’re out in the community, look for the orange window decal as a visual symbol of what businesses have made the health and safety of their patrons a priority. You can feel comfortable knowing these businesses have agreed to:
- Follow, enforce and adhere to safety guidelines outlined by the CDC, Ohio Department of Health and relevant industry organizations.
- Require that employees wear protective gear and clearly communicating expectations to guests on any requirements for them.
- Implement and enforce social distancing practices.
Find out more, including who has signed up, here.
GBAC STAR™ Accreditation
Recently, Columbus became one of the first destinations in the world to coordinate a citywide pursuit of Global Biorisk Advisory Council’s GBAC STAR™ accreditation. GBAC STAR is the only outbreak prevention, response and recovery accreditation for facilities. This performance-based accreditation program helps facilities demonstrate they have the work practices, procedures and protocols to prepare, respond and recover from outbreaks and pandemics to instill confidence in customers, staff and key stakeholders. As we prepare for the return of larger gatherings, this level-up opportunity for Live Forward Pledge participants offers important third-party validation for primary visitor touchpoints.
Masks = Kindness
With the requirement that businesses ensure employees wear face coverings, and a strong recommendation that patrons do as well, it's likely something that's going to be part of our lives for some time. Wearing a mask shows kindness for the community, and we encourage residents and visitors alike to consider wearing a face covering as a sign of compassion for each other. To help #MaskUpCbus, we’ve put together some recommendations for how to style a mask, as well as where to buy one that also supports a local business.
Columbus businesses have been working hard to keep the economy afloat while many of us have stayed home. Hospitality workers stayed on the frontlines to keep our local restaurants, retail establishments, hotels, attractions, and other business going, and greeted us from afar with a not-so-distant smile and now, as recovery begins, they’ll continue working with optimism and the same reliable hospitality as ever. We’ve teamed up with BrewDog USA, headquartered here in Columbus, to honor these essential workers with a much-deserved toast, three cheers and their favorite BrewDog beers. Check out who has been nominated here and look for these hospitality heroes on your next trip out.
Columbus is a resilient city. Live Forward initiatives are designed to spread the hope, happiness and positive optimism that Columbus is known for. Whether you’re local, or considering a trip to Columbus, we’re ready to welcome you and want you to know that you can feel safe here. Join us in helping restart this vital piece of the city’s economy and learn how you can get involved with Live Forward.