RANGELEY – Every summer, Rangeley’s population swells as seasonal residents and visitors from across the country flock to the mountain community. Recognizing the potential for COVID-19 transmission, more than 70 Rangeley businesses have taken a pledge to protect the health of the community, employees, and customers by following safety guidelines and responding to community input.
The Rangeley Rises Safety Pledge started this spring, as businesses began to consider how they could safely welcome back seasonal customers. Travis Ferland, owner of the Rangeley Inn & Tavern, and one of the pledge’s authors, said he recognized the unique role he and other businesses play in protecting the health of the community.
“I couldn’t stomach the idea of encouraging visitors to stay with us during the pandemic, without taking steps to protect the Rangeley community. The Safety Pledge asks local businesses to take some very simple steps that will help to protect their employees, customers, friends, and neighbors. It also puts Rangeley on the map as a top-notch destination that prioritizes the safety of its visitors,” Ferland said.
“Rangeley is a community where people care about each other, and our businesses. Like others around Maine, many of our businesses are suffering during the pandemic. How can we get people to come to Rangeley and support our businesses in the midst of our uncertain times? The Safety Pledge is our modest attempt to do that,” president of Rangeley Lakes Heritage Trust David Miller said.
The pledge reads as follows:
1. We prioritize the health and safety of our patrons, our employees, and our community.
2. We meet or exceed all CDC and State of Maine guidelines for opening and operating during the COVID-19 pandemic.
3. We are asking our patrons, our employees, and our community to offer suggestions for safety enhancements.
4. We are implementing protocols specific to our establishments, that meet or exceed CDC and State of Maine guidelines.
5. We are encouraging our community and guests to practice physical distancing, to wear face coverings when in proximity of others, and to frequently wash or sanitize hands.
State and CDC guidelines vary by business type. The document below, “State of Maine COVID19 Guidelines – Highlights,” summarizes the most important requirements for face coverings, physical distancing, cleanliness, and screening.
Laura Reynolds, co-owner of Portage Tap House, says customers have responded positively to the pledge.
“Customers seem appreciative of the measures we’ve taken to keep them, and us, safe. I’ve had several customers tell me they will only go to places that are following the State guidelines,” she said
The “Rangeley Rises” motto was started by a group of Rangeley teachers this spring. It refers to the community’s tradition of rising to the occasion in times of need. To learn more, go to RangeleyRises.com.