Businesses in college towns invited to webinars on COVID-19 safety


MARQUETTE, Mich., (WJMN) – Michigan Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity (LEO) will host a series of webinars on COVID-19 safety practices in relation to businesses in college towns.

Each town will have its own webinar to attend. Marquette is invited to attend a webinar on August 21 from 2:30 to 3:30 P.M. The webinar will go over the latest information on COVID-19 safety and pay special attention to the dynamic of operating in a college town. LEO Director Jeff Donofrio says that as the number of cases rises in young people it’s important to take precautions.

“With the number of cases among young, college-aged Michiganders increasing, its critical we take extra steps to ensure that businesses in college towns know how to protect their employees, customers and communities from COVID-19,” said Donofrio. “Businesses across the state are working hard to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and we’re working to provide resources and programs to help make that job easier.”

The webinars are intended for businesses that serve college students, including retail, restaurants, bars and gyms. Michigan COVID-19 Workplace Safety Director Sean Egan will go over the current practices and what businesses should know.

“What I’d really like people to keep in mind and focus on at all times is that we’re trying to contain COVID, and we recognize that working people need to work, business owners need to be in business, and we have to commit to this inside and outside of the workplace to really get open and stay open for the long run in Michigan,” said Egan

Egan says that college towns face some unique challenges now that students are moving back. One thing is the rapid increase of population. He says that college students are important to these towns’ economies, but preventing spread of the virus is important to keeping businesses open.

“The challenges for a business may be similar but the pressures are going to be much stronger on businesses in college towns their sort of earning season might be shorter,” said Egab. “They really need to focus in on those capacity limits for public spaces, make sure they’re taking care of the lines for those people trying to get in there and that we’re not having congregations. Landlords need to be thinking about controlling potential parties or big gatherings.”

The webinars are intended for the seven towns listed, but Egan says that he is happy to talk to any business owners near other colleges that have questions as well. Business owners from towns with colleges outside the ones listed on the webinar can join in if they wish. The content of the webinars will be half presentation and half question and answer.

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