RED WING -- Across the country, main streets are struggling to survive the economic effects of the stay at home orders. Customers are concerned about the health and safety precautions businesses are taking, and it’s not clear if customers will begin to shop again once businesses reopen. The Red Wing COVID-19 “Aware Because We Care" designation program is a citywide initiative aimed at building trust with residents and visitors. It was launched by Red Wing’s Downtown Main Street with funding from the Port Authority.

“We know that until we have the trust of our customers, we are going to have a hard time bringing them back to shop and this program aims to help our customers know that our business owners are doing everything they are required to do to keep their employees and customers safe,” said Megan Tsui, Director of Red Wing Downtown Main Street.

Businesses that opt-in for the designation agree to have completed and posted their preparedness plan as outlined by the Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry, and are following the most current guidelines set forward by the federal, state and local government agencies to stay open or re-open. As of Monday, June 8, 51 Red Wing businesses had designated themselves as COVID-19 aware.

The goal of this program is to support the Red Wing business community that has been working to survive during this time. The designation was designed with input from local business and nonprofit leaders.

“It’s important to us that our community feels safe so we can reopen, and then keep our businesses open,” said Mayor Sean Dowse. Dowse added:

“We have to ease people’s fears as they ease back into their daily lives.”

Although the program was developed by Downtown Main Street, it is a citywide initiative. Businesses and nonprofits that opt-in will be provided with a window cling so that residents and visitors will know that a business is participating. Business and nonprofit owners are spending time and money adhering to these guidelines and this is a way to help them communicate with their customers that they are to be trusted with their business.

Additionally, the city of Red Wing has purchased and donated 10,000 one-time use masks to distribute to Red Wing businesses and nonprofits. As of Monday, 5,600 masks had been requested and delivered.

The COVID-19 “Aware Because We Care" designation program overview outlines important details about the program, as well as frequently asked questions about it will be implemented. For more information about the designation, visit downtownredwing.org/covid-aware or email covidaware@downtownredwing.org.