SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – Driving around Springfield this week, you may have noticed some vaccination signs outside some of our local businesses.
“We have had folks that would reach out to us,” Aaron Schekorra explained, the public health information administrator for the Springfield-Greene County Health Department, “that we’re asking like for information on where they should shop, eat, play, around town where there would be higher levels of vaccination.”
Schekorra said they cannot give out that information, so they came up with the idea for businesses to put signs up themselves.
“We are 100% vaccinated, there’s no coercion to that, it was just we believe in science, and we wanted to do what’s best for ourselves, our family, and our community,” said Martin.
Martin is one of the first businesses in town to show off their fully vaccinated staff.
“We do trust the medical community as a whole. For our safety and for our community’s safety,” said James Martin, chef, owner, and head dishwasher at Gilardi’s.
He said it’s been going great, “people who are more educated tend to believe in science. People who are more educated tend to have more disposable income, and when you have more disposable income, you come and see me more often. We saw our per-person averages go up. We saw our customer satisfaction go up. They’re coming in because they feel like they’ll be in a safer environment than other places.”
However, displaying the sign has attracted some unwanted attention, “we had just had some phone calls that were expressing displeasure about us having vaccinated people,” said Martin.
Because of this, Martin had to move his sign from the streets to in front of his restaurant.
But he said that it’s overall a great decision, “standing up for what is right is never easy,” Martin said, “I would rather be on the right side of history. The few times that we had to deal with situations where someone was upset about our policies or whatever, that didn’t even come close to the gain that we had from being the safe place.”
And the health department says the same.
“The response to this has been overwhelmingly positive,” said Schekorra, “saying that this is going to make them look out for these signs and deciding where to spend their money.”