This partner communication exists to provide timely information on Sonoma County’s tourism and hospitality industry, along with resources to help partners navigate through the COVID-19 crisis and beyond.
December 8, 2020
It will come as no surprise to anyone that the hoped-for movement out from under the crush of COVID will be impacted by the second round of shut-downs across California. In several forecasting calls SCT participated in last week, the potential for recovery is predicted to be a longer timeframe than we anticipated. While Sonoma County does have some assets that will drive recovery, the forecast now is for consumer recovery to begin in late 2021 (possibly fall) with better recovery into 2022, but that it will be late 2022 before we’re back to pre-COVID visitation/revenue levels. Group business and international won’t recover or begin to recover until 2024. This will further devastate our industry and those businesses that rely on tourism. As an organization, we’ve taken our forecast down by about 20% through the first two quarters of 2021 – we already forecasted a downturn, but this furthers that trend. We are estimating SCT’s budget to be roughly half of what it was pre-COVID through the summer of 2021. 

We’re working along with many of you to drive holiday shopping and encourage people to Give the Gift of Sonoma County. We’re loving (and ordering) many of the offerings we’ve seen! More than at any time, in a county that has its economy so dependent on tourism, we need to work together, support one another and understand the fragility of the tourism ecosystem. We are all dependent on the success of tourism for the long-term success of Sonoma County. 
Claudia Vecchio
President and CEO
Sonoma County Tourism
Revised Lodging Guidance for Regional Stay at Home Order
From the Dec. 8 Visit California Coronavirus Update:
Gov. Newsom yesterday offered some clarity on how the rules affect leisure stays at hotels for in-state and out-of-state travelers. Not all issues are resolved, and more detailed FAQs from the California Department of Public Health are expected in the coming days.

The rules allow hotel stays in …restricted areas [regions that fall below the 15% ICU availability threshold] only for essential needs and travelers, defined as “COVID-19 mitigation and containment measures, treatment measures, accommodation for essential workers, or providing housing solutions, including measures to protect homeless populations.”

Hotel stays, the governor said Monday, are “not for tourists, not for leisure in those areas.”

In addition, the state order bans hotels from accepting or honoring reservations from out of state unless the guests are isolating for at least the minimum quarantine time.
The California Hotel & Lodging Association is building a helpful FAQ section on its website here, which will be updated as new information becomes available.

Sonoma County Tourism will continue to keep you updated on the state’s evolving language and expectations regarding this order. 
Cal/OSHA’s COVID-19 Emergency Regulation
The California Occupational Safety and Health (Cal/OSHA) Standards Board’s COVID-19 Emergency Regulation went into effect last week. The emergency standards apply to most workers in California not covered by Cal/OSHA’s Aerosol Transmissible Diseases standard. The regulations require that employers implement a site-specific written COVID-19 prevention program to address COVID-19 health hazards, correct unsafe or unhealthy conditions, and provide face coverings. When there are multiple COVID-19 infections or outbreaks at the worksite, employers must provide COVID-19 testing and notify public health departments. The regulations also require accurate recordkeeping and reporting of COVID-19 cases.

Cal/OSHA has posted FAQs and a one-page fact sheet on the regulation, as well as a model COVID-19 prevention program. Employers are invited to participate in training webinars held by Cal/OSHA’s Consultation Services branch. Employers and workers who have questions or need assistance with workplace health and safety programs can call Cal/OSHA’s Consultation Services Branch at 800-963-9424.

Additionally, Petra Risk Solutions offers employers access to its COVID-19 Prevention Exposure Control Plan, which includes the new regulation. You are encouraged to carefully review the plan and regulation in its entirety to determine what policies, practices, and procedures need to be implemented to achieve compliance. 
The COVID-19 Emergency Regulation will be in effect for 180 days and can be extended. It is anticipated that Cal/OSHA will move forward with regular and permanent rulemaking on this topic in the coming weeks. 
Our latest Tourism Industry Performance and Insights
Last week’s Tourism Industry Performance and Insights communication did not hit your inbox as scheduled, but if you would like to access it via a web browser, you may do so here
Reminding Visitors to Respect Fire-Damaged Closures 
It has come to our attention that some businesses are continuing to direct visitors to Armstrong Redwoods State Natural Reserve and Austin Creek State Recreation Area; encouraging visitors to park along Armstrong Woods Road and instructing them to ignore barricades and signs that communicate the parks are closed.

It is important that this stop because both Armstrong Redwoods State Natural Reserve and Austin Creek State Recreation Area are closed due to hazardous conditions related to the Walbridge Fire. There are trees in both parks that were impacted with fire damage that could easily come down, especially as we see more rain in the coming weeks and months.

Please help Stewards of the Coast and Redwoods spread the word that Armstrong and Austin Creek are both closed. We absolutely wish to share the beauty of these parks with visitors, but they must remain closed while State Parks and Stewards work diligently to restore them. Thank you. 
Trio of County COVID Posters 
The County of Sonoma has released three new posters offering quarantine information, isolation information, and testing information, respectively. 

The posters, available in both English and Spanish, can be accessed here.
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 at their SoCo Launch website here.
Get tested and help Sonoma County eliminate the coronavirus. Broad COVID-19 viral testing is now available. Learn more here.

The County of Sonoma’s SoCo Emergency webpage offers COVID-19 resources, support, and information.