An initiative designed to ensure safety as Rochester businesses recover from the impacts of the statewide stay-at-home order was launched Monday.

Dubbed "Rochester Ready," the effort partners the city with Destination Medical Center Economic Development Agency, Experience Rochester, Mayo Clinic, Olmsted County and the Rochester Area Chamber of Commerce.

Launching the program is a hospitality safety pledge for restaurants, retailers and lodging properties.

It calls for participating businesses to sign a pledge, committing to the implementation of a set of measures to provide a safe experience to customers. The pledge aligns with preparedness plans required by the state of Minnesota, but also asks businesses to require that all employees wear nonmedical cloth face coverings and encourage their guests to do the same.

“It is important that Rochester businesses, residents, and visitors develop a shared commitment to minimizing the spread of COVID-19,” Rochester Mayor Kim Norton said in a statement announcing the program. “Businesses that sign the Rochester Ready Pledge demonstrate their desire to provide a safe environment for residents and visitors to our community.”

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Organizers have already started enlisting Rochester businesses.

“We are excited to be a part of the new Rochester Ready Safe program. Our priority is and will always be for the safety of our guests and team members,” Myron and Michelle Salz, owners of Centerstone Plaza Hotel, said in Monday's announcement. “Over the past few months, the Centerstone team has developed additional procedures for safety that complement this initiative.”

To help businesses promote the program and help customers identify participants, Rochester Ready will provide branded materials including posters in multiple languages and window clings for businesses taking the safety pledge, and they will be featured on the website rochesterready.com.

Mayo Clinic and other organizations are making the information available to patients and visitors to convey that Rochester is ready to serve them safely.