WJHL – What started as a Washington County, Tenn. effort to give consumers a resource for finding Tennessee Pledge-compliant businesses has spread more widely through the greater Tri-Cities.
The Region Ahead website, designed in response to the pandemic, includes a section where businesses can commit to following Tennessee Pledge reopening guidelines for their particular sector — retail, restaurant, etc.
Business owners enter specific information and their location is pinned in the map. Consumers can click on those location points — which are color-coded for restaurants, retail and other — and see information about the business.
Washington County Mayor Joe Grandy established a working group — the Mayor’s Business Economic Recovery Team — to oversee the effort. It includes retired Army General Gary Harrell, a business owner who, along with his wife Jennifer, is a COVID-19 survivor. Harrell said the list is a good safeguard for people who want to support businesses that have voluntarily committed to abide by the state’s recommendations, which are based on CDC guidelines.
“You know if you go in there to do business you’re going to get treated in line with the guidelines of the Tennessee Pledge,” Harrell said. “I’m not going to promise you won’t get anything, but they’re doing their best to make sure that the sanitation guidelines and everything else is being followed.”
Harrell said he’s glad that Tennessee has taken a more guideline-oriented approach based on not just the CDC guidelines, but what he called “a lot of common sense.” He said that compares favorably in his opinion to what he said were more restrictive mandates in some other states.
“I think that’s very different and very well done compared to some of the things you see on television that are happening in some of the other states.”