This special partner communication is dedicated to providing information regarding the fluid situation surrounding the coronavirus and its continued impact on domestic and international travel. 
May 12, 2020
We’re now in our second month abiding by the shelter-in-place environment and, while it has been the most challenging nine weeks any of us can remember, we are beginning to see encouraging signs of reopening. When we do so, it will be under an entirely new language of safety and protocols. The tourism and hospitality industries have always been incredibly adaptive and they have shown this same quick response through the tremendous protocols and safety measures most are ready to incorporate as quickly as is necessary. Great thanks to the EDB for their resource-filled web portal. Several additional opportunities are listed below that will, hopefully, help our partners gain traction for a solid recovery.  
Claudia Vecchio
President and CEO
Sonoma County Tourism
SoCo Launch takes flight for local businesses  

The Sonoma County Economic Development Board announced on Monday the debut of its new online portal: SoCo Launch — which aims to provide resources to help facilitate the safe and successful reopening of businesses.

With the collaboration of local industry stakeholders, the EDB was able to develop comprehensive, yet concise, virus mitigation strategies for use in each local industry operational setting. SoCo Launch contains a business mitigation measure checklist, best management practices, and a business self-certification portal.

The Hotels and Hospitality component was facilitated by Mark Bodenhammer (CEO, Sonoma Valley Chamber of Commerce), with industry leads Claudia Vecchio (CEO/president, Sonoma County Tourism), Kelly Bass Seibel, (director of community engagement, Sonoma County Tourism), and Michael Haney (CEO, Sonoma County Vintners). 

The Restaurants and Retail component was facilitated by Tim Ricard (economic development manager, Town of Windsor), with industry lead Sara Cummings (Sonoma County Hospitality Association, Executive Director ). 
EDA grants available under the CARES Act
The U.S. Travel Association has brought to our attention the Economic Development Administration ’s notice of funding opportunity for $1.5 billion in grants accessible under the CARES Act.

Eligible entities include state and local governments, as well as nonprofit organizations. Grants are permitted to be used for a number of purposes including travel and tourism related marketing efforts. 

We encourage you to read U.S. Travel’s communication here to learn more. 
Fire prep during Shelter-In-Place

Join fire and public health officials tomorrow, May 13 at 2 p.m. to discuss preparations for the upcoming fire season. The meeting will be Facebook Live streamed on Supervisor Hopkins official Facebook page here .

Topics to be covered include preparation activities; emergency operations center planning for evacuations and fire response during the SIP; and best practices, templates, and information for neighborhood firesafe councils.

Additionally, there will be a Q&A session with vegetation experts and fire officials. 
Reminder: Virtual Recovery Conference this Thursday
Registration is still open for the North Bay Business Journal ’s Virtual Recovery Conference on Thurs, May 14 from 10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.

Join keynote speaker Julie Clowes, the district director for the Small Business Administration, and fellow presenters Dr. Robert Eyler and Todd O’Leary, as they highlight the area’s progress toward reinvigorating the North Bay economy.

Those interested in registering for the free webinar, underwritten by BPM and American River Bank, may do so here .  
Thank You to our Tourism Cares blood donors

Sonoma County Tourism sincerely thanks everyone who took the time and effort to register for blood donation as part of our most recent Tourism Cares event. We’re consistently heartened by our industry’s willingness to answer the call for help.
As a way to thank our donors, SCT entered participants into a drawing for a Sonoma County wellness gift box, containing natural soap, sugar scrub, a candle, jasmine rose green tea, body butter, and wildflower honey – all from local sources.

We’re pleased to announce the winners of the wellness gift boxes are Jessica Schroeder from Vintners Resort, and Megan Perkins from Russian River Vacation Homes. Congratulations to them both, and again a HUGE thanks to all our wonderful donors.

For those interested in learning about life saving blood donation, we encourage you to visit .
Recommended reading

Destination Analysts

“American travelers are feeling more comfortable this week, but not necessarily more confident. American travelers’ feelings about COVID-19’s impact on their personal finances (6.5/10) and national economy (7.9/10) is at an 8-week low. However, optimism that coronavirus will get better in the U.S. in the next month dipped to a 4-week low. Women and Boomer travelers continue to exhibit more elevated levels of caution around the virus and travel. Nevertheless, the percent of American travelers who feel they will avoid travel until coronavirus is resolved continues to slowly decline (64.8%), and the perceived safety of flying on a commercial airline, staying in a hotel, dining in restaurants and visiting attractions continues to improve from lows seen in early April.”

Visit California

This month’s Insights newsletter from Visit California contains helpful resources, industry news, and research (including the 2019 Economic Impact Report). 

Sonoma County Tourism has a Coronavirus Partner Toolkit regularly updated   here .

The Sonoma County Economic Development Board has compiled a comprehensive list of local, state, and government resources (including financing options) for businesses here
Health Organizations

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC)  is carefully monitoring the coronavirus and offers information and  FAQs  via its   COVID-19 microsite.

The World Health Organization’s   Coronavirus web page   provides a wealth of insights about the disease, ways to protect oneself, travel advisories, etc.