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Rice University researchers’ inspection plan could help ease COVID-19 fears

An inspection grade would help, Rice researchers say, to help people feel safer.
An inspection grade would help, Rice researchers say, to help people feel safer. (Copyright 2020 by KPRC Click2Houston - All rights reserved.)

HOUSTON – As states across the country allow businesses shut down by the COVID-19 pandemic to reopen, owners fear it won’t matter if people don’t feel safe venturing out.

Researchers at Rice University’s Texas Policy Lab think they have a solution.

They’ve developed an inspection program, run by the government, which would grade businesses on a list of common COVID-19 safety measures and could be customized for different industries, from offices to restaurants.

The researchers say the infrastructure already exists for cities and states to quickly implement a grading program.

The grading system is similar to those already in use for restaurants.

“You’ll know not only that businesses are committed to adhering to safety guidelines, but also how well they’re actually doing, so and this will help members of the public make more informed choices regarding how to manage their own infection risk,” says the Policy Lab’s Megan Rafferty.

The Texas Policy Lab researchers say to start, businesses could volunteer to take part in the inspections to show off how seriously they’re taking COVID-19 safety measures, but ultimately, if the inspections become mandatory, like restaurant surveys by the local health department, doing business will be safer.

Read more from NBC News: https://bit.ly/2Sz5ZgZ