The city has announced a new program to help businesses. Courtesy image.

Last Wednesday the City launched the “Santa Monica Shines” COVID-19 assurance program to ensure businesses have the best safety practices and to encourage people to shop locally.

Businesses who enroll in the program will be trained on the latest health and safety requirements and how to ensure customer compliance. Following an onsite evaluation of their protocols, they will receive the Santa Monica Shines Safety Assurance Seal to publicly display.

“We are really excited to partner with Santa Monica College, Sustainable Works, and Arrow Up, which is a Santa Monica based tech company, to launch this program to help our businesses get safely reopened. We want to help them to communicate to their staff and customers to shop and eat local as our businesses are safe,” said Jennifer Taylor, the City’s Economic Development Manager.

Participating companies will designate a safety supervisor who registers the business on Arrow Up’s website and fills out a questionnaire on the implementation of the L.A. County Health Department’s Safety Protocols. Then, the rest of the employees can register and complete the safety courses.

“One thing I really like about the training is how it incorporates a level of sensitivity training, so it’s not just all the compliance issues regarding reopening,” said Taylor. “It also shows how businesses can deal with customers who won’t wear a mask or how to deal with people who are giving challenges to their employees because they don’t want to follow social distancing requirements.”

Once all employees have completed the online program, a representative from Santa Monica-based non-profit Sustainable Works will complete an onsite visit. They will check that all safety protocols are being followed, proper distancing signage is posted, and that EPA approved disinfectants are being used.

Although the County has posted very strict reopening protocols, there is no agency systematically checking that businesses are abiding by best practices. The Santa Monica Shines Program seeks to fill that gap to build confidence in the community and get businesses back on their feet.

The program is funded by the City’s Economic Recovery Task Force and Santa Monica College. Other efforts by the task force include licenses to allow restaurants to expand their outdoor dining, online job resources, and special offers on retail, dining, and hotels for Santa Monica residents.

“Santa Monica Shines was inspired by some of our own programs like the Buy Local program. When businesses enroll and participate in Buy Local they get the window badge to show that they are committed to supporting the community,” said Taylor. There is also the Green Business Certification program and the Most Loved awards, which grant businesses badges for being environmentally conscious and for being voted a community favorite. “We already knew that our businesses really appreciate and customers recognize these things and we wanted to build upon these efforts with Santa Monica Shines,” said Taylor.

Businesses who wish to enroll in the program can do so by visiting http://www.arrowupsantamonica.com/

clara@smdp.com