This special partner communication is dedicated to providing information regarding the fluid situation surrounding the coronavirus, the LNU Lightning Complex Fires, and the impact on Sonoma County's tourism/hospitality industry.
August 25, 2020
As we work through these compounded crises, we are so appreciative of the first responders, our lodging properties, elected officials on the county and city levels, and all partners who continue to retain communications with customers. This Alert is designed to provide a number of resources that can be useful now and into the future. Please let us know if we can help with determining how and when to incorporate any of these resources. Thank you for all you do to help Sonoma County continue to be an extraordinary destination. Please be safe.
Claudia Vecchio
President and CEO
Sonoma County Tourism
Crisis blueprint

The adage goes: If you fail to plan, you can plan to fail. In no time is this more acute than during a crisis. While each crisis is different and requires a customized approach, one thing is for certain: a crisis plan is essential for ensuring a business is prepared for the unexpected. 

Here is a comprehensive crisis blueprint offered by Sonoma County Tourism that your business can use as a foundation for handling most crises. (Admittedly, global pandemic is a situation unto itself!) But, this plan will help ensure a strong communications channel, solid operational processes and appropriate public response.

Please let us know if we can help your organization develop its own crisis plan.
Small Business disaster loans
Low-interest federal disaster loans are now available to Sonoma County businesses and residents as a result of President Trump’s Major Disaster Declaration due to the wildfires that began on August 14.

The U.S. Small Business Administration has established a Virtual Business Recovery Center to provide personalized assistance to business owners. Please note these services are only available for the California Disaster Declaration as a result of the wildfires that began August 14, and not for COVID-19 related assistance.

The Virtual Business Recovery Center and Virtual Disaster Loan Outreach Center are open Mon. – Fri., 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., and can be reached via email at and by phone at (916) 735-1500.
Consumer communications in a time of crisis

As we learned after the devastating wildfires of 2017, and again last fall, our industry must be extremely mindful of language and images we use with our consumers in these periods of crisis. Being truthful about a difficult situation is important, but it’s advantageous to acknowledge the circumstances in an uplifting measured way. This Instagram post from Lynmar Estate is a wonderful example of recognizing the situation with a positive sentiment — focusing on the experience they offer to all who seek it.

When talking with consumers, including posting on social media, please remember:

  • Be factual. For fire stats, refer to CalFire.

  • Only provide accurate, updated information - including photos - based on what you know to be true.

  • Do not embellish or offer conjecture.

  • If you do not know the answer to something, it is OK to say you do not have the answer. Do not guess or offer theories.

Due to the impacts of the LNU Lightning Complex Fires, the Sonoma County Economic Development Board’s Economic Recovery Town Hall, scheduled for Aug. 26, has been postponed. An announcement regarding the new date for the town hall is expected in the coming weeks. Questions can be directed to the Economic Development Board and the Office of Recovery and Resiliency at

As previously announced, Sonoma County Tourism’s Annual Meeting, also originally set for Aug. 26, has been moved to Sept. 23 from 10 – 11:30 a.m. If you haven't registered for the annual meeting, but would like to do so, you can sign up here. Admission is free, but registration is required to attend. 
EDB business recovery guide
The Sonoma County Economic Development Board has worked with various partners to compile a comprehensive list of local, state and government resources and benefits for businesses affected by the LNU Lightning Complex Fire. The guide includes potentially available funding to help rebuild, cover payroll, tax credits and incentives, and help filing claims.

You can access the EDB’s LNU Lightning Complex Fire Business Recovery Guide in English here and in Spanish here
Sonoma County Vintners winery COVID-19 testing
Sonoma County Vintners has partnered with TotalWellness and American AgCredit to provide a dedicated Sonoma County workforce active COVID-19 testing program for Sonoma County wineries. As part of this partnership, Sonoma County Vintners Foundation and American AgCredit are subsidizing a portion of testing costs in order to assist winery members and make this program as approachable as possible to those needing tests. 

The first testing date will be held on Friday, August 28 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., and then every Thursday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. through October 22 at the American AgCredit Parking Lot (400 Aviation Blvd. Santa Rosa, CA 95403). Testing costs $120 for SCV members and $135 for non-members. Reservations are required for each test.

Participating wineries must first register for the testing program here and pre-purchase tests to be utilized during the Sonoma County Vintners testing period. If you have questions about the registration process or the COVID-19 Testing Program, please contact Jesslyn Jackson, director of membership & international programs, at
Emergency water conservation

Emergency water conservation is being requested of our community to help keep water storage tanks full for potential firefighting efforts. The more water we can store for domestic and firefighting purposes, the better prepared we will be during this emergency.
For that reason, Sonoma Water requests the suspension of all outdoor water use for irrigation and asks everyone to reduce indoor water use as much as possible.

For more information and water conservation tips, visit
USA TODAY's 10Best winners

Closing things out on a happy note, SCT sends an enthusiastic cheer to all the Sonoma County businesses honored by USA Today’s 10Best Awards, including:

Congratulations to all for these well-deserved recognitions!