The Owatonna Area Chamber of Commerce and Tourism (OACCT) is working on 'Safe Shop Zone' criteria that "signals to your customers and employees that your business is taking the extra steps to protect against COVID-19." The chamber made the announcement in their Tuesday Talk e-newsletter.

The list of criteria is being finalized. Signs will be available from Tri-M Graphics in Owatonna at no cost to businesses. The chamber invites you to watch their social media and Facebook page for more information.

Chamber president Brad Meier says in his report, "Businesses continue to safely return to work and PPE's are in high demand. The chamber has started a list of local vendors for products...The United Way of Steele County has provided posters for the Minnesota 2-1-1 service." He also said, "Surprisingly, federal dollars still available." Read more of his notes, some with video updates, in the newsletter.

The chamber announced the annual Ted G. Ringhofer Memorial Scholarship winner as Marcus Andrist, who is planning to major in computer science. He is the son of Allison and Jake Andrist. He receives a $1,000 scholarship given by the OACCT Ambassadors and TPS Insurance Agency.

Visit Owatonna has released a video tour of town on their Facebook page. On a personal note, I appreciate being asked to do the voice-over work for the presentation.

The chamber announces the Mainstreet Flower Basket program is underway. Donations go 100 percent toward the 120 flower baskets. Call the chamber office for more details at 507-451-7970. Flowers are purchased locally. The anticipated date for hanging the flowers in May 28 or 29.