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Local

St. Charles business owner comes up with way to socialize safely during pandemic

Paper wristbands indicate comfort level during social events

ST. CHARLES – As an active member of the St. Charles Chamber of Commerce, Fully Promoted franchise owner Michelle Bottino was trying to figure out a way the Chamber could continue to host social events during the pandemic while allowing participants to feel comfortable.

"Never before have you had to tell people your medical history in person," said Bottino, who herself has an autoimmune disorder. "It's just awkward. And nobody wants to do that. So I think people are really hesitant to go to events because of that fear."

Prior to a recent social function at Global Brew Tap House hosted by the Chamber's Young Professional Council, she came up with the idea to provide attendees with color-coded paper wristbands. They were able to choose from three different bracelets that indicated their comfort level.

The green bracelet means a person is happy to high five and hug. Yellow means they are OK with talking, but please no hugging or handshakes. And red means they are happy to see you, but keeping their distance.

Bottino noted that the majority of attendees wore green wristbands "but there were a handful of yellows."

"We got a bunch of pictures of people holding up the wristbands and really embracing the concept," she said.

The Chamber also plans to use the wristbands at an upcoming event, Bottino said.

"The Chamber is promoting that wristband concept in advance so that people will start to understand what they're doing and how people can attend and have that comfort level," she said. "It's really exciting to be able to help different groups get back to connecting to one another and have that layer of comfort built in. This is just one more way to get people together in some sort of safe way."

As the franchise owner of Fully Promoted, Bottino helps other businesses promote themselves. Given the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, she has had to come up with different ways companies can promote themselves.

That includes putting their logos on face masks as well as hand sanitizer. Bottino said she is proud of the role the St. Charles Chamber has played during the pandemic.

"They're offering programs to help keep the community connected," she said. "I think the Chamber really stepped up to be a partner to not just the businesses that are members, but to the community at large."

More information about Fully Promoted and its products and services is available by going to its website, fullypromoted.com/locations/st-charles-il.

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