Upper Valley Businesses: Open & Safe
We’re taking a moment to appreciate businesses who are taking every precaution to keep their facilities safe for you to visit. In the face of a pandemic, we recognize that businesses need to open—both to provide important services to the community but also to support local employment and economic stability.
We hope the good work by these business will inspire consumers to feel safe visiting their local Upper Valley businesses, and will provide helpful information for other businesses to open safely.
According to the CDC, cloth face coverings are most likely to reduce the spread of COVID-19 when they are widely used by the public. We are grateful to the businesses in the Upper Valley who remind us of the importance of face masks with posted signage, modeling of mask-wearing by employees, and some who even go the extra mile to hand out masks to customers who need them.
To showcase one such business that has risen to the challenge, Upper Valley Strong interviewed Dan Fraser of Dan & Whit’s in Norwich, VT, about how this local general store has changed their business practices in order to safely serve their customers.
Dan & Whit’s has responded to the coronavirus by:
- Making hand sanitizer available at the door and registers
- Implementing face shields at the register
- Requiring customers to wear masks
- Providing curbside pickup and delivery
Pictured: Dan & Whit’s employee Sonia O’Neil welcomes customers at the register.
Pictured: Dan & Whit’s employee Roger Lucas maintains health and safety protocols while serving customer Latham Allison his ice cream treat.
Read the full interview with Dan Fraser:
Q: How has Dan & Whit’s adapted to the coronavirus?
Dan Fraser: “We do curbside pick up as well as delivery. Norwich fire department does all the deliveries in Norwich, and volunteers help deliver in Wilder and Hanover. In the beginning, we had no one in here—it was all curbside and delivery… In the last two weeks or so, we’ve flipped back. We continue to do the curbside and delivery, but now that the store is open, we require everyone who wants to come in and shop to wear a face mask. We’re following all current guidelines as they come out, and also have face shields, hand sanitizer, the works. It’s for the safety of other customers as well as employees.”
Q: I know you’ve had food trucks here and have worked to partner with other local businesses, can you tell me about that?
Dan: “Businesses here have been figuring out how we can help each other in this environment. We really try to support each other. We’ve had food trucks setup here at the store, and for a while that was the only way for people to get food. Before the Norwich Inn was able to serve food, they opened up their tables to anyone who bought food from the trucks, and would sell their beer. Bringing in all these businesses and partnering up to sell their goods and provide needed foods and services, it helps everyone stay afloat. We want to and need to do more of that for local businesses, whether they are in Norwich or outside of Norwich.”
Q: Is there anything else that you want everyone to know?
Dan: “Shopping locally and supporting local businesses is so important. Small local businesses are doing everything they can to keep customers safe, because they’re a part of your community. It could really change the footprint on Main Street, if consumers can come back to local, and not do the online thing.”
Other Community Fundraising & Support Efforts by Dan & Whit’s during the COVID-19 Pandemic:
- Started a neighborhood coordinator program of volunteers
- Serves as a collection place for Victory Gardens, with donations going to Willing Hands, collects for many other local funds, and collects canned food for the Upper Valley Haven
- Worked on the “Feed the Frontlines” program, took nominations on where to send free meals to those in need
- Hosted a fundraiser in June for local beauticians that raffled off 20 haircuts and raised $3,000
- Coordinated a fundraiser for the 2020 Hanover graduating class that raised $8,000 and reinvested it in gift certificates at local businesses for each graduating senior
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COVID-19 Resources for Businesses
“Science & Practices to Keep Workers Safe and Businesses Productive as the COVID-19 Pandemic Changes.”
Featuring video recordings and PowerPoint presentations from the recent Dartmouth-Hitchcock course.
CDC Resources for Businesses and Workplaces
Providing free resources for a safe opening, ongoing virus mitigation, as well as prevention and support.
OSHA: Guidance on Preparing
Workplaces for COVID-19
Download OSHA’s brochure for recommendations and information to provide a safe and healthful workplace.
COVID-19 Resources from NH Department of Health and Human Services
Download a Free Toolkit from Mask of Wellness
Give customers confidence to patronize your business; knowing it’s following our three simple ‘Covid-Conscious’ practices of masks, hygiene, and health.