JACKSON, MS (WLOX) - When Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant signed the Religious Accommodations Act into law, it created a quandary for many businesses. How do you market yourself as the Hospitality State when lawmakers are creating ways for businesses not to serve customers?
That's why the Mississippi Hospitality & Restaurant Association is launching a campaign called, "EVERYONE'S WELCOME HERE."
"Regardless of its intent, this legislation has created a level of controversy and public perception that affects the image of our state and the hospitality community," said Mike Cashion, the Executive Director of the MHRA. "And while we may not be able to manage the image and brand of the entire state, we can affect the image of our restaurants, hotels and other hospitality businesses."
The "EVERYONE'S WELCOME HERE" Campaign is a voluntary, no cost program for members of the hospitality and tourism industries. The MHRA will design, print and distribute door decals to restaurant or hospitality related business that would like to convey the message. The MHRA will also create a web presence that will list a master directory of participating restaurants and businesses.
"Our industry serves a diverse customer base and we want to make sure all customers are appreciated and welcomed. We have a very clear and strong message to convey. Mississippi's restaurant industry is open for everyone's business," Cashion added.
More than a year ago, a similar campaign of inclusion started across the state. Blue stickers announcing, "We don't discriminate. If you're buying, we're selling." can still be seen on the doors of businesses across Mississippi.
The official launch date for the "EVERYONE'S WELCOME HERE" campaign is scheduled for late April. If you would like to participate in the program or would like more information, contact the MHRA office at (601) 608-0221 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.