Last weekend, a new Minneapolis ordinance officially went into effect requiring clubs to provide free earplugs to all patrons and employees. Gimme Noise checked in with several of the 198 establishments affected -- Triple Rock Social Club, the Cabooze, Nomad World Pub, Cedar Cultural Center, Mill City Nights, among others -- and many had not yet received the dispenser of 3M earplugs offered to them gratis.
The plugs are on the way soon, according to Locally Grown, Globally Known's Brian Felsen, whose company is overseeing delivery. Personal stops to all Class A and Class B on-sale liquor, wine and beer licensees will begin on Monday, and continue into the first week of May.
Felsen and his team are working off of a spreadsheet of licensee holders provided by the city, and many are not the same as a regular venue contact, so they encourage venues to send questions about fulfillment to: [email protected].
The most common plugs 3M will provide through the program are a dispenser of E-A-Rsoft™ Yellow Neons™ (pictured below). To clear up some common questions about the new initiative, Felsen answered several inquiries we've heard over and over since the program was announced.
What are venues required to do with the earplugs once they receive them?
We're not going to have any restrictions about where they'll have to put it. It doesn't have to be two feet from the door. It just has to be handicap accessible, and so people can go grab 'em without interfering with anything. The clubs will have overall discretion as to where they want it to be placed.
How many earplugs will each club receive?
One dispenser and one refill at the initial delivery. Some clubs could blow through them in one night, and some clubs might have the same inventory for the year. It's gonna vary between establishment to establishment and people's willingness to wear 'em. If they don't want it for space reasons, they don't have to take it. Once we get an idea of demand, we'll adjust accordingly. We want to eliminate as much additional work for the facility as possible, and encourage them to let us know if they're running low. We'll also be proactive without getting in their way to make sure that there's adequate inventory.
What are the details of the program?
Locally Grown, Globally Known is doing delivery. We're a distributor of 3M ear protection. We are in charge of all the fulfillment, distribution, installation. If you need more earplugs, you'll be reaching out to us. We've allocated a team responsible for Minneapolis and managing it on a day-to-day basis. This is privately funded by other parties who have interest in hearing conservation, including the Miracle Ear Foundation.
This is part of an awareness campaign. We are hoping to discuss with all the people why it's so important for their patrons and employees, but there's no requirement that we have to educate them. I love to, and I hope I can for any who want to hear us out. I'm a certified instructor for Dangerous Decibels. I teach people about the anatomy of the ear. How to properly wear hearing protection.
Will this program expand to St. Paul and anywhere else?
Right now it's just Minneapolis. We're also in conversations to introduce this to St. Paul as well. We're working through the details for this to be an ordinance that affects the entire Twin Cities. We've been contracted by companies all over the country that are interested in being a part of it, and expanding the ordinance to other cities throughout the country.
We're working with most of the major cities throughout the country. I don't know if we can specifically name the cities that we're currently in contact with, but we're in conversations and introductions with all of them. Some of them have also reached out to us. Minneapolis is our hometown, and we wanted to introduce it here, a city on the forefront for better health for our citizens, and a trend-setter for other parts of the country. This is something that the city is being recognized for. Other cities are wanting to follow suit. It's a health and wellness issue that really needs to be addressed, like smoking in public or sunscreen. The recreational side of hearing loss is often overlooked. We want to make this a movement before it becomes an epidemic.
Does this campaign actually require people to wear earplugs?
No. The most important thing for people to understand about this is that there's no regulatory requirement related to you having to wear them. The city writing tickets or fining people for not wearing them is not part of the ordinance. It's just having them available, free of charge, to their employees and their patrons. We encourage it, but no one's required to wear them.
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