Get the Details Behind the Program

This program helps businesses prevent the spread of COVID-19

There are 3 main components to the Oakland Safety Compliance Program.

We identify the right guidelines to follow from the CDC, State of Pennsylvania, and Allegheny County
Businesses use safety software to implement those guidelines and perform spot checks regularly
Partners support the businesses in the program with their questions

Gain trust in businesses with safety you can see

Businesses can earn these badges for each milestone they complete along the way.

Onboarding Complete
Get trained on safety software and start implementing guidelines
Guidelines Implemented
Implement 100% of guidelines for the business
Consistent Compliance
Hit a high safety standard (>=90% compliance) in a calendar week with at least 5 spot checks completed
3rd-Party Validation
Have secret shoppers observe safety practices

A diverse group of experts put this program together

Our partners include the Oakland Business Improvement District, Qualaris, UPMC, the Pennsylvania Restaurant & Lodging Association, and the Richard King Mellon Foundation.

Ashley Ayres
Ashley Ayres
Director Infection Prevention, UPMC, Presbyterian Shadyside
Debra Thompson, RN, PhD, FAAN
Debra Thompson, RN, PhD, FAAN
Advisor, Qualaris
Georgia Petropoulos
Georgia Petropoulos
Oakland Business Improvement District
Daniel Bishop
Daniel Bishop
CEO, Qualaris

Program Aims

This program’s goal is to help Oakland businesses (primarily restaurants & retailers) and the general Oakland community be as safe as possible in revitalizing businesses through two aims:

  • Aim 1: Support Community Mitigation of COVID-19 through the rigorous adoption and ongoing compliance of appropriate COVID-19 guidelines in participating businesses
  • Aim 2: Accelerate Safer Economic Recovery through the public reporting and marketing of guideline compliance data that helps consumers identify businesses that are rigorously adopting guidelines in support of safer dining and shopping options


Spread of COVID-19 is resulting in an unprecedented negative impact on public health and the economy. Broad efforts are underway, but collectively, the US has struggled to make consistent forward progress in advancing community mitigation and economic recovery goals.

A review of areas with favorable economic and public health outcomes suggest that successful community mitigation is a requisite component of economic recovery. However, there is an apparent perception of misalignment between public health and economic aims resulting in inconsistent adoption of mitigation behaviors.

Guideline compliance software is an established method for ensuring compliance with infection prevention guidelines in various healthcare settings.

Public reporting is an established method for aligning business behaviors with consumer interests in areas of regulatory and safety compliance.

Emerging consumer research is being carried out on the impact of COVID-19 on consumer behaviors. Consumer confidence is low. Across a broad set of leisure activities including dining out and shopping, consumers have consistently reported <50% confidence to resume these activities. Consumer behaviors are changing. A recent report found that information seeking behaviors have changed among consumers - “79% of consumers […] will seek out information on the type of health and safety standards and processes businesses have in place before visiting them.”

We propose that programs can create stronger alignment between community mitigation and safer economic recovery aims through regional programs that integrate software support for rigorous guideline compliance among businesses with the public reporting of business compliance data to consumers.

Aim 1: Support Community Mitigation of COVID-19

Aim 1 - Community Mitigation Figure


Applicable guidelines from the CDC, PA Governor’s Office, and Allegheny DoH are identified for adoption by participating businesses and tracked for changes over time.




Digital Compliance Tools

Templated software tools have been developed from the guideline content to support businesses in implementing and ensuring compliance over time.

Safety Compliance Guideline Cards

Guideline Cards combine guideline content with implementation task lists to assist managers and business owners setting up all applicable guidelines in their businesses.

  • Promoting Behaviors that Reduce Spread
  • Maintaining Healthy Environments
  • Maintaining Healthy Operations
  • Preparing for Sick Employees

Safety Compliance Spot Checks

Spot checks are data collection tools designed for the periodic auditing of compliance with specific guideline elements

  • Daily Quality Check

Recruitment & Onboarding

Businesses are recruited by community partners and directed to this online program hub to learn more and sign up to participate.

Software onboarding for participating business owners and managers consists of a 15 minute onboarding session via interactive webinar or prerecorded training video.

Usage & Support

Participating businesses use the software to implement and adhere to guidelines:

  • They work through implementation task lists on their computer or phone to ensure they have all applicable guidelines in place
  • Then, they use recurring observation-based audits on their phone (currently in the form of a Daily Quality Check Tool)

Support is provided by partners:

  • Software support provided by Qualaris
  • General program support through a user group listserv and forum moderated by OBID and Qualaris
  • Guideline support provided by UPMC

Guideline Implementation & Compliance Goals

Performance goals serve two purposes for this program. First, these goals provide business participants with specific targets to work towards achieving and sustaining. Second, these goals become a basis for communicating summary performance of businesses to the public.

Measures and specific targets have been developed below around two conceptual goals to reflect progress in implementing appropriate guidelines within a business and then maintaining compliance over time.

Goal 1: “Appropriate guidelines are implemented”

  • Digital Tool: Guideline Card Templates
  • Measure: Guideline Implementation Status
    • Defined as (# of implementation tasks completed) / (total # of implementation tasks)
  • Target: All Guidelines Implemented (e.g. 105 completed tasks / 105 total tasks)

Goal 2: “Consistent compliance with guidelines”

  • Digital Tool: Spot Check Templates
  • Measure: % compliance
    • Defined as (# of checklist elements marked compliant) / (total # of checklist elements audited) * 100%
  • Target: 90%
    • Note - 90% compliance is the most broadly adopted target used in infection prevention compliance programs in healthcare and was adopted here as a proposed target in the absence of specific CDC guidance for this emerging topic

Aim 2: Accelerate Safer Economic Recovery

Aim 2 - Safer Economic Recovery Figure

Approach to milestone-based safety marketing

In order to create alignment between behaviors that mitigate the spread of COVID-19 in businesses and commercial interests, milestone-based safety marketing has been developed.

Fundamentally, the premise is that as participating businesses achieve milestones through the use of the digital tools, safety marketing content is unlocked that can be used by businesses to help consumers identify safer options for dining and shopping.

Milestones are set based upon Guideline Compliance and Implementation Goals.

Milestone Definitions

Milestone 1 - Onboarding Complete


  • Sign a safety commitment
  • Participating business manager or owner must complete an onboarding training session
  • Participating business manager or owner must log into the software
  • At least 3 implementation tasks must be completed
  • At least 1 spot check must be completed

Milestone 2 - All guidelines implemented:


  • All requirements from Milestone 1
  • Complete training with staff
  • All implementation tasks for all guideline cards must be completed

Milestone 3 - Consistent Guideline Compliance

This milestone can be earned multiple times.


  • All requirements from Milestone 2
  • Achieve >= 90% compliance in a calendar week with at least 5 spot checks completed

Optional Milestone 4 - Compliance validated by a 3rd party


  • All requirements from Milestone 3
  • Secret shoppers stop by the business and spot check compliance with visible practices - social distancing and mask wearing

Safety Marketing Content is comprised of Marketing Claims & Supporting Evidence

When businesses communicate claims about safety, consumers need to be able to 1) quickly grasp that claim in a marketing-optimized format and then 2) be able to evaluate the credibility of those claims if desired. A structured content framework is outlined here:

  • Marketing Claims are the specific claims the program aims to equip businesses to make in a variety of formats and channels
  • Supporting Evidence are the data and program information made available to the public that equips consumers and others to evaluate the credibility of Marketing Claims

When each milestone is reached, specific content corresponding to Marketing Claims and Supporting Evidence are unlocked.

Marketing Claims Supporting Evidence

Marketing Claims Content

Marketing claims content will be provided to Participating Businesses and OBID in tailored formats to support their preferred marketing channels.

Marketing Claims Content

Supporting Evidence Content

Supporting evidence content will be consolidated to the program hub hosted by Qualaris.

Supporting Claims Content