Dear Members and Friends,
2020 has been an unprecedented year. As we have talked to our Members over these last few months, some are doing a booming business due to the nature of what they do, while others are hanging on by their fingernails to keep their doors open and staff employed. Whether it’s been through illness, having your business or employer suffer layoffs and financial losses, or simply that you’ve had your daily life disrupted, everyone has felt the impact of COVID-19.
When we moved to Phase 2, directives came from the state. Some of our Member businesses can have their operating licenses revoked due to non-compliance. Consequently, they hold themselves to the mandated standard with regard to masking, social distancing, and cleaning. Other members not subject to licensure follow the recommended standards anyway because they choose to.
Many of our Members ask their customers, like themselves, to wear masks in their business. They say they do it because:
- It’s an NC Executive Order.
- Health organizations have recommended it.
- The President has now said masking is important.
- It’s the right thing to do in the interest of health and safety of our community.
The tone of social media conversations on this subject have taken a negative turn in recent weeks. Additionally, we are hearing from our Members how their staff have been subjected to rude and coarse behavior from customers regarding the subject (from folks on both sides of this issue). Hearing this is especially disheartening as it is a time when we need to be united; supporting and encouraging each other.
It has been disappointing to read comments in social media from locals claiming they will never shop/dine/do business in Randolph County again because of experiences they’ve had at businesses that do not comply with masking. We ask that no one paint ALL Randolph County-located businesses with the same brush as so many here are earnestly following the recommended standard.
There have been posters on social media that have asked the Chamber to step in and help ensure all businesses comply. Others have described us as being part of the “open at any costs group”. We have been characterized as not caring about citizens. Neither assertion could be further from the truth. We are a mission-driven organization that understands we cannot appease everyone. We do not tell businesses how to operate, nor do we chastise or publicly shame them for choices they make.
We are a membership organization – made up of companies large & small, civic clubs, churches, private citizens, non-profit organizations, national chains, and small owner-operated businesses – all 800+ of whom support our mission to make this a better place to live, work, and do business. These businesses are the ones that support our local youth sports, youth theater, the Arts Guild, United Way, churches, and a myriad of other private social services that help our citizens in need.
These are the businesses everyone goes to, time and time again, to support any number of worthy causes. Businesses like these – the ones invested in the mission to make this a great place to live – ensure we actually do have a great place to live. It’s not the out-of-county businesses that support children and the needy in our community. It’s the ones right here in Randolph County.
We recommend the
Count on Me NC
program for any business that simply does not know where to start in terms of compliance. This partnership involving NC State Extension, NC Department of Health and Human Services, NC Restaurant & Lodging Association, and VisitNC includes various online business training modules – some industry specific, others are more general. This is a
FREE, turn-key solution
for businesses no matter their size. More than a dozen of our Members are “Count on Me” trained and certified. You can find out more at their website, as well as links to training and printable signage, at
This is a time when it is critically important to spend dollars in Randolph County. We encourage everyone to continue to support local businesses. We encourage everyone to put the health and safety of the community at the forefront of what they do, and we encourage you to utilize the Count on Me NC program. Only through reducing the spread will commerce finally and fully reopen.