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HIGHLANDS CASHIERS HEALTH FOUNDATION FUNDS ACQUISITION AND DELIVERY OF 200 HAND SANITIZER STATIONS

Stations Will Be Placed in Area Restaurants and High Traffic Locations in Jackson and Macon Counties

HIGHLANDS, NC – As part of its COVID-19 response, the Highlands Cashiers Health Foundation has funded an initiative to purchase and deliver 200 hand sanitizing stations to area independent restaurants for use by their patrons and high traffic areas for use by community members. The stations will be delivered for distribution in Cashiers, Highlands, Franklin, and Sylva, North Carolina with the help of the four Chambers of Commerce in Jackson and Macon counties.

“This is such a great opportunity to support our mission of lifting the health and well-being together by helping to drive the economic recovery in our area,” said Dr. Walter Clark, Highlands Cashiers Health Foundation Board Chair. “As businesses, especially restaurants, navigate opening and operating in these challenging times, there is a lot of concern. These sanitizer stands for their patrons are a powerful visual cue that these establishments care about the safety of their patrons and our community.”

Branded with the Foundation logo, along with the individual sponsoring chamber logo, the stands will be placed at the front entrance  of participating restaurants as well as high traffic areas to raise awareness of the need for customer safety while also affirming the Foundation’s commitment to supporting their community’s health and well-being.

The four partnering chambers, Cashiers Area Chamber, Highlands Chamber of Commerce, Jackson County Chamber of Commerce, Franklin Chamber of Commerce represent about 1500 businesses and non-profits in Macon and Jackson Counties.

The Centers for Disease Control guidelines suggest that when hand sanitizers are used in place of soap and water, that the sanitizer contain at least 60% alcohol. Each sanitizer stand will be delivered with a gallon of 80% alcohol medical-grade sanitizer. Recommendations are to put enough sanitizer on hands to cover all surfaces and rub hands together until they feel dry (approximately 20 seconds). Users should not wipe off or rinse hands before sanitizer is dry.

“As businesses begin to open again, it’s imperative that everyone understand the importance of staying safe and staying well,” said Robin Tindall, CEO and Executive Director of Highlands Cashiers Health Foundation. “One of the best ways to do that is through good hand washing and sanitizing. Having these stands at the entrance of our area restaurants is a great way to keep this practice top of mind.”

“According to a Kaiser Family Foundation study, 45% of adults in the US say their mental health has been negatively impacted due to worry and stress over COVID-19 and the resulting economic burden. Helping businesses and their patrons feel more secure as they start to reopen can help alleviate some of that burden,” said Dr. Pat Morse, HCHF board member and current Professor and Head of the Department of Social Work at Western Carolina University.

The ability to acquire these stands in this time of scarcity could not have happened without a concerted effort by the Foundation’s board and other community members to locate and secure available units.

One of those behind the effort is four-year Cashiers resident Sarah Chapin. “I was called by my friend, who got us to move to Cashiers in the first place, and who sits on the Board of the Foundation,” Chapin says. “She had been trying to find these units without much success. But knowing how many years I spent in the food service industry, she called me. Luckily, I was already working with Deutsche in Charlotte, NC, makers of brewery equipment, that had begun making sanitizer,” Chapin adds.  “We found the unit, and in the end, the only piece missing was the pump.”  From the time she was called until the day the order was placed was a mere eight days.  Additionally, Sarah was able to set up a re-order process for the sanitizer with Zoller’s Hardware in Cashiers, NC; However, all unit’s sanitizer pumps can be replaced with any FDA approved sanitizer.

The placement of the sanitizer stands at the restaurant entrances is being praised by the two counties’ health departments. In a statement, Jackson County Health Director Shelley Carraway says, “Highlands Cashiers Health Foundation has shown their commitment to investing in the health of our community time and time again. Providing our local restaurants with hand sanitizer units will help maintain hand hygiene, which is vitally important in preventing the spread of COVID-19.”

Kathy McGaha, Macon County Public Health Center Director adds, “HCHF continues to demonstrate their investment in our community’s health.  We appreciate all HCHF is doing to provide our local businesses hand sanitizer units, helping our community maintain hand hygiene as we move forward with the Governor’s Phased Re-Opening plan.”