COVID 'Shining Stars' and 'Community Heroes'
In early May, Lewis and Clark Public Health (LCPH) launched a Facebook campaign to recognize local businesses that have made extraordinary efforts to protect county residents from COVID-19. The campaign, called Shining Star, invites residents to nominate a business by sending a description of why they deserve the distinction to publichealth(at)lccountymt.gov.
“We’ve heard almost daily about the sacrifices businesses have had to make because of the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Drenda Niemann, health officer and director of LCPH. “We’ve also heard from residents who are impressed by the lengths some businesses are going to in order to provide a safe environment for their patrons. We want to share the praise.”
Niemann said LCPH has developed guidance for local businesses to help them begin “reopening” under the governor’s Phase One directive. It’s available on the department’s website at www.lccountymt.gov/covid-19.
“So many businesses have been calling us because they want to do the right thing,” Niemann said. “They care about their customers and their employees, and they want to protect their health. We’ve heard of some really imaginative ways that businesses are doing that.”
To learn more, contact LCPH at 457-8900 or the email address listed above.
"I appreciate the effort being made by Hokkaido Ramen and Izakaya in the Great Northern Town Center. I've gotten takeout from there twice.... Their pickup area is just inside the doors and is covered in paper. The pens used to sign credit/debit slips are not reused; they go with you. They limit customers to only 2 in the pickup area. Finally, all employees wear masks.... Their respect for the health and safety of their employees and the public evidently comes first. They deserve a nod!" -- Signed, Dawn
"I nominate Costco for Shining Star, no question. Nobody has matched the precautions Costco has taken during this pandemic. They have gone above and beyond with everything. They also have given their employees hazard pay, all employees wear masks, they sanitize, they space, they are doing it RIGHT!" -- Signed, Jennifer
"I would like to nominate Costco for the Shining Star recognition. They provide clean carts, require face masks, provide special hours for those at greater risk. They have procedures in place for minimal contact, and they are still as nice as ever!" -- Signed, Lucy
"I nominate Great Clips next to Target! My son desperately needed a haircut a few days ago. I was leery to take him in because he has been isolated since all of this started. When we got there, I was able to check him in with staff wearing gloves and face masks.
"We were then instructed to wait outside for them to call him in. No one was able to sit in the waiting area, and they only allowed clients in who were having their hair done. I felt they were taking this very seriously, and I felt more comfortable having him in there than in any grocery store in Helena!" Signed, Amber
"I really appreciate Helena's Safeway for taking safety seriously. The employees wear masks, they direct traffic, disinfect all carts after use, and are friendly also. I have not seen this level of concern for safety at any other big grocery store in town. Thank you, Safeway!" Signed, Loraine
"Needed a quick lunch to take home after running errands. First place open nearby was Jimmy Johns. As a nurse and high-risk person, I was impressed that every employee was wearing a mask. I believe all were wearing gloves, too. Signs on doors and places to stand marked, special place for picking up orders placed online.... This restaurant showed the BEST compliance with the CDC guidelines that I've been to through this whole thing! I'm impressed and will return." Signed, Mindy
"I work for Bassu in Helena, and I want to acknowledge the owner, Leslie Hochstrasser, as a Shining Star. She has taken COVID-19 seriously from the very beginning. During the quarantine, she encouraged us to update any and all training to keep our skills up to date. She also deep-cleaned and repainted her beautiful salon so our guests could feel safe within our premises.
"Leslie has always taken the safety of her clients seriously, but now it's even more important to her. All clients complete a questionnaire upon arriving at the salon, must wear a mask, and agree to have an infrared temperature check.
"Leslie deserves to be recognized for all she has done to keep her clients, staff, and public safe in her establishment." Signed, Toni
"Since the onset of this crisis, the staff at Real Food has gone above and beyond local, state, and federal safety recommendations. All staff have worn masks, sanitation efforts throughout the store have been observable, cart wipes have been available, and hand sanitizer and gloves have had a prominent place at the entrance to the store.
"I feel safe and valued when I am in the store, and for that I am grateful for this treasured local business. Thank you, Real Food staff, for honoring your friends and shoppers!"
Keith Brugman and the team at Great Northern Carousel are our first Community Heroes. As manager of the carousel, Keith works to emphasize safety for his employees and guests.
In addition to requiring masks, there are health checks on employees, and signage and floor markings to promote physical distancing. His team emphasizes good hand hygiene and sanitizes tables, seats, and even the carousel critters after every ride to ensure a safe experience for kids and their families.
Toby DeWolf and his team at Bert and Ernie’s are our newest Community Heroes. The restaurant, located in downtown Helena, goes above and beyond in providing the safest atmosphere possible for its customers and staff. There are eight sanitations stations located in the restaurant and all staff wear masks. In addition to spreading out tables to ensure physical distancing, the bar, seating, and other public-facing areas are all cleaned several times a day. Thank you for making the community safer!
Great Divide is our newest Community Hero! In an email nomination to LCPH, a community member cited Great Divide's diligent work and thoughtful processes they recently implemented to operate safely during COVID-19 restrictions. (She also took this amazing photo!)
Our newest Community Hero is Allen’s Manix Store in Augusta! In her nomination email, a community member highlighted the store's commitment to cleaning and signage and "...the Manix Store has ensured groceries and basic supplies are available to our small town with a smile at the counter and gentle reminder to 'be kind, be safe.'"