With tourists crowding into Manitou Springs this summer — many of them failing to wear masks or practice social distancing — the city has launched a campaign to support local businesses and protect public health.

The city is installing banners along Manitou Avenue reminding visitors to wear masks and is placing non-slip vinyl decals on sidewalks at key downtown congestion points to prompt social distancing and help prevent the spread of COVID-19.

In a recent Polco survey, 93 percent of Manitou Springs residents said they were very concerned or moderately concerned about the health and safety of vulnerable populations, said Becca Sickbert, Manitou’s interim economic recovery director and executive director of the Manitou Springs Creative District.

Other top concerns included the loss of locally-owned or small businesses (91 percent very or moderately concerned); people not keeping physical distance in public places (84 percent very or moderately concerned); and people not wearing masks in public places (81 percent very or moderately concerned).

“When we surveyed Manitou businesses and residents, what became clear is that a large percentage of both our business community and our residents were concerned about maintaining public health and that they were keen to see efforts that would signal Manitou Springs is both open for business and dedicated to keeping everyone healthy,” Sickbert said.

The survey, conducted June 12-28, also found that 80 percent of residents thought all employees of local businesses wearing masks and enhanced cleaning and disinfecting measures were essential or important for resuming operations; 78 percent responded that customers wearing masks was essential or important for returning to in-person business operations.

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In response to those concerns, the Manitou Springs Creative District and Manitou Springs Chamber of Commerce & Visitors Center developed the Love the Town You’re In campaign.

“There are so many ways to show love for our local communities right now,” Sickbert said. “In a town that measures social distancing in hula hoops, we felt it was vital to take public health guidelines seriously, but in a playful way that’s true to Manitou Springs.”

The multi-channel campaign features messaging about supporting local businesses and hand washing, as well as social distancing and wearing masks, including:

  • It’s a Big Deal to Shop Small
  • Eat, Drink & Wash Your Hands
  • 6’ Distance Makes Our Hearts Grow Fonder
  • Please, We’re Masking For Manitou #MaskingForManitou

In addition to street banners and vinyl sidewalk decals, the city is promoting the campaign through social media graphics.

For more information visit manitouspringscd.org.

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