2021 Environmental Health Innovation Award: 

Alexandria Environmental Health Team

The Alexandria Health Department’s Environmental Health team, like many other EH programs were faced with changing the way they operate when the COVID-19 pandemic started. Realizing that businesses were going to need help navigating the reopening processes they sprang into action, creating the ALX Promise program. EH Manager Rachel Stradling, worked with AHD leadership, City partners, Visit Alexandria, and local restaurant and business associations, to get their plan and the program rolling. Then other members of the EH team, Safwaan Islam, Jasmine McNally, Erin Miller, and Marcella Sikon worked to create checklists and PowerPoint presentations to utilize during training sessions for businesses. Throughout the program the entire EH team, including Amanda Barto, Amanda Coletti, Jennifer Lineback, Tiffany Johnson-Wiggins, Leslie Valenzuela and Kendra Washington all played a part either conducting trainings, delivering materials to businesses, or updating and reviewing materials for the program.

The ALX Promise program itself helps businesses safely reopen and remain open during the pandemic. When customers see the ALX Promise shield displayed on a businesses they know that the business has committed to higher safety standards for employees and customers than the minimum rules required by law for all businesses. Those businesses participate in training with an AHD Environmental Health Specialist on the requirements to reopen their business. They train all their employees on the safety measures needed for a safe reopening. And they submit a completed checklist, training record and pledge commitment to ensure the safety of its employees and staff. Then they agree to follow all future applicable health guidance as Alexandria enters new phases of reopening. New checklists and trainings are completed as new changes.

This program, as of date, has had over 420 businesses sign up for the program, representing restaurants, retail stores, tour guides, office buildings, entertainment venues, hotels, and more. And more than 200 have fully completed all aspects of the program.

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