A new program is up and running in the City of Sioux Falls to help businesses plan how to safely continue operating through the pandemic.
SOAR, Supporting Operations and Resiliency for Businesses is a joint effort between the health department and building and planning services.
“Our goal is to help businesses open, re-open make sure they’re operating in the safest manner possible for both their employees and for their customers and to really make sure that business is going as best as it can at this time,” Sioux Falls Director of Planning and Development Services Jeff Eckhoff said.
SOAR was created to provide free consultation for any local business looking for guidance.
“A lot of it is we can help them with the CDC guidelines, help them understand the different ordinances that are in place now in the city, the proclamation the mayor had and some of the spacing as far as the 20 percent occupancy and those sorts of things,” Eckhoff said.
While Soar aims to help safely re-open the Sioux Falls Business Community by targeting some of the larger businesses like call centers, manufacturers and large retail, any place where people gather can reach out to SOAR for help with COVID-19 precautions. The Minnehaha County Courthouse was one of the first places the new city program helped.
“We spent a lot of time walking through the courthouse looking for ideas on distancing, on putting up barriers for people, the use of face coverings, you know, it’s the basic things we hear, but sometimes I think it helps to have somebody walk through with you and point to this and talk about things we’ve seen in other businesses that work,” Eckhoff said.
If you’d like help with a question or an evaluation of your business, just call the 211 helpline program and ask for someone with SOAR.
“We can certainly provide assistance over the phone, we’d be glad to go out to their workplace, do a walk-through with them, anything we can do to help them be successful,” Eckhoff said.
Employees and customers can also call into the SOAR program if they have a concern about a business. Business owners can learn more about SOAR and recommendations from the city online.