With ongoing COVID-19 concerns, officials at the Medical University of South Carolina organized a program to provide personalized safety plans for businesses, schools, government offices, and other establishments in the Charleston area to encourage the
prevention of the coronavirus.
The program’s goal is to allow businesses and other entities to operate in a modified and safe fashion. MUSC’s service allows businesses to keep operating while rearranging their logistics to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.
“When you look at epidemiology as a physician, there’s a significant concern about the rising number of cases. We can’t take it seriously enough,” said Lacey Menkin Smith, who is the medical director for the program.
“Public health is a lot more than just a physical illness. It’s also making sure that people can maintain their economic livelihoods,” she said.
Daniel Island restaurant Dockery’s participated in MUSC’s Back2Business initiative, and the feedback has been positive. Andy McCloud, Dockery’s executive chef, said the restaurant originally joined a pilot program for Back2Business.
“We were the first restaurant to participate and get certified,” McCloud said.
Through the partnership, Dockery’s can provide a potential roadmap to the future for other restaurants in the community looking to reopen for business while keeping all necessary safety precautions in mind.
“They were actually able to provide feedback so that we could provide better quality and information for the program,” Menkin Smith said.
McCloud said that when shutdowns began, Dockery’s immediately went through public forums to see how it could reopen safely with employees present. Dockery’s had already put protocols into place before MUSC approached them, but through the program,
McCloud said they found validation for their efforts.
“We found out that the protocols we already put in place were correct. They were very encouraged by what we were doing,” he said.
During day-to-day operations, one advantage McCloud sees in MUSC’s design advice was the point of entry to the business.
“Having only one point of entry helps a lot. It erases any confusion about the bar not being open,” he said.
McCloud said that the informational signage was the greatest benefit of initiative. “That was the thing that helped the most.”
Back2Business also provides clients participating in the partnership with an email newsletter that details key data about coronavirus cases, as well as other information. Assistance from public health officials trained extensively in the coronavirus is readily available, and a provided protocol “playbook” that the restaurant can follow to reduce risks.
Ryan Howard is the nurse lead liaison for MUSC’s partnership with Dockery’s and is in charge of keeping an open line of communication between the two. She said that the partnership has flowed smoothly.
“I’m the point of contact with the Back2Business team and Dockery’s in the event that any questions arise,” she said.
Britt Gilbert, Commonwealth Financial Group Inc. CEO, said his favorite aspect of his company’s partnership with MUSC’s Back2Business program was the “protocol playbook” provided. The playbook is designed to guide businesses in preventing the spread of the coronavirus.
“We have real-time support. You can pick up the phone and call to get immediate assistance from a nurse or liaison if questions come up,” he said.
He also said that Commonwealth practiced social distancing methods by limiting the number of people allowed in the conference room. The voluntary, temporary changes were implemented through Back2Business.
“We limited workflow and space in certain areas and provided hand sanitizing stations,” he said.
Back2Business also provided assessments and recommendations to the Credit One Bank Invitational, a women’s tennis tournament that was held June 23-28 at Daniel Island’s Volvo Car Stadium.
“We reviewed plans for all of the athletes and their guests,” Menkin Smith said.
The guidelines are incorporated from state health officials, The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the World Health Organization.
“The first thing we learned about in 2020 was social adjustment. This is the most significant time a lot of us will live through,” McCloud said.
Menkin Smith emphasized the fact that MUSC scientifically assesses employee’s risks. She also encouraged continued scientifically-based, informative and open dialogue about COVID-19.
“Places want to get back to business, and we need to continue to operate in a modified and safe fashion,” she said.