Just a few weeks ago, as North Carolina was entering Phase II of its reopening plan, the NCRLA (North Carolina Restaurant and Lodging Association) rolled out a training certification program called Count On Me NC. The bureau immediately sent out the details and links to our tourism partners, so that they would have the opportunity to participate in the tailored training courses for restaurants, hotels, and other public-facing businesses. Completion of the course provides businesses with marketing materials they can use to promote their commitment to understanding and following new state and federal procedures in place to maintain the health and safety of staff and guests.

As of 6/25/20, we know that the following businesses in JoCo have participated in Count On Me NC with more to follow: Sleep Inn & Suites Smithfield, Econo Lodge Selma, Two Wheel Cafe Inc., Mucho Mexico, Golden Corral Smithfield, Bob Evans Smithfield, White Swan BBQ, Culver's, Deep River Brewing Company, First Street Tavern, Jones Cafe, Mission Beef and Brews, Revival 1869, Sherry's Signature Cheesecakes, Rockin' Comet Diner, Clayton Steakhouse, Vinson's Pub + Eatery, Simple Twist, Kenly 95 Petro, Salvaged Heirlooms, Waffle House Benson, The Redneck BBQ Lab, Grill on the Hill, J-Top's BBQ, Anthony's La Piazza, Ava Gardner Museum, Richardson Trophy & Awards, Super 8 Smithfield, Triangle East Chamber of Commerce, Bourbon N' Sweets, Char-Grill Clayton, Grill Daddy's, Studio M Danceworks, Conundrum Escapes, Tippy Toes Dance Studio, FC Grandson's, Howell Theatre, Eden's Vegetarian Catering Service, Live at The Rudy, Little Brown Jug, The Clayton Center, The Hall and Gardens at Landmark, Darkside Haunted Estates, Artmosphere Community Arts Center, and The Cleveland Draft House.

Bright blue Count On Me NC badge icon on a photo of plates of food laid out on a wooden table top.

But our businesses cannot do it alone. We all have a role to play in keeping our communities safe and healthy. That includes all guests and patrons of these reopening businesses doing what they can to provide service within the state guidelines. For locals and visitors ready to get back out into JoCo's restaurants, breweries, and retail stores, the Count On Me NC website also has a Guest Pledge section.

Make the commitment to practice the 3 W's when in public: wear a face-covering like a mask or a scarf, wait your turn by maintaining six feet of physical distance from others, wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or use hand sanitizer. Also, use contactless delivery or takeout options if you have been recently exposed to, or have symptoms of, COVID-19. Also, be patient and kind to staff and other guests as we all try to adjust to a new normal.

By filling out and downloading the name badge on the bottom of the Guest Pledge page you are making the Count On Me NC commitment. You can then download your name badge, personalized to you, to share across your social channels in support of the businesses across North Carolina working to safely serve all of us.