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.
March 9, 2021
Optimism continues to grow. The latest consumer sentiment survey shows 84% of American travelers report that they plan to travel within the next six months (up from 65% in mid-January). Only 35% of American travelers indicated the coronavirus is greatly impacting their decision to travel in the next six months. Combined with what we know about travel trends, and the County’s progression to reopening, this is all pointing to a blockbuster summer in Sonoma County. This also means we are dearly hoping our lodging, restaurants, retailers and travel providers are ready to welcome visitors with the stellar level of service and experiences our guests desire. At SCT, we are working to heighten our Travel Kindly pledge with new programming to punctuate our commitment to responsible travel and incentivize visitors to act in a respectful and sustainable way. The new recovery campaign is under development and along with the digital Inspiration and E-Weddings guides, we’re approaching this relaunch in a fresh, new way. As we all know – Sonoma County is resilient, creative, thoughtful and progressive. It’s with this spirit we know Life will most certainly Open Up!   
Claudia Vecchio
President and CEO
Sonoma County Tourism
Red Tier Workshop for Businesses
In anticipation of Sonoma County’s inevitable advancement to the red tier, the Sonoma County Economic Development Board is hosting a “Business Red Tier Workshop” tomorrow, March 10, at noon. The webinar, featuring deputy health officer Dr. Kismet Baldwin and the EDB’s business expansion and retention manager Lauren Cartwright, will go over which business activities will change once in the red tier, discuss how red tier eligibility is determined, and cover how we can advance to other tiers to allow for more business activity.

Learn more and register here.
Changes to the Blueprint for a Safer Economy
The Newsom Administration announced last week the introduction of a vaccine equity metric to update the Blueprint for a Safer Economy, based on vaccinating the state’s hardest hit communities against COVID-19. The state is modifying the Blueprint for a Safer Economy to lead with opening activities when vaccines have been deployed to the hardest-hit communities. This modification will shift Blueprint tier thresholds to allow slightly higher case rates per 100,000 population once more inoculations have occurred in the communities suffering the most, allowing counties to move to less restrictive tiers.

The initial goal of the vaccine equity metric is to deliver a minimum of 2 million doses to the hardest-hit quarter of the state as measured by the Healthy Places Index. The state has currently delivered 1.6 million doses to this quarter of the state. It is estimated that 2 million doses will be delivered in the vaccine equity quartile sometime in the next two weeks.

Once that threshold is reached, the Blueprint for a Safer Economy will be updated to allow for somewhat higher case rates in each tier, with an overall effect of allowing counties to loosen health restrictions at a somewhat accelerated, but still responsible, pace. The Blueprint will be updated again when 4 million doses have been administered in the vaccine equity quartile.

To learn more about this update to the state’s Blueprint, read the California Department of Public Health announcement here
Second Draw PPP Window Closes March 31
The Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) allows certain eligible borrowers that previously received a PPP loan to apply for a Second Draw PPP Loan with the same general loan terms as their First Draw PPP Loan. Second Draw PPP Loans can be used to help fund payroll costs, including benefits. Funds can also be used to pay for mortgage interest, rent, utilities, worker protection costs related to COVID-19, uninsured property damage costs caused by looting or vandalism during 2020, and certain supplier costs and expenses for operations.

Borrowers can apply for a Second Draw PPP Loan until March 31, through any existing SBA 7(a) lender or through any federally insured depository institution, federally insured credit union, eligible non-bank lender, or Farm Credit System institution that is participating in PPP. All Second Draw PPP Loans will have the same terms regardless of lender or borrower. A list of participating lenders as well as additional information and full terms can be found here.
Redwood Empire Food Bank Tourism Cares Recap
Sonoma County Tourism Cares was delighted to return to Redwood Empire Food Bank last Thursday to help fight food insecurity in the time of COVID-19. Twenty-two masked and socially distanced volunteers convened outdoors to safely bag oranges and carrots for distribution to those in need. Donations totaling a few hundred dollars was also kindly provided to REFB from our wonderful tourism and hospitality partners.

SCT extends a massive thanks to our volunteers and donors. If you were unable to attend, but would like to assist in the future, you can explore fun and safe REFB volunteer opportunities here.
New Sonoma County Zoom backgrounds
Need a change of (virtual) scenery? As you’re sitting through yet another webinar or staff meeting, remind yourself and others of the beauty of Sonoma County by situating yourself behind a lovely yellow mustard field, or the serene waters of the Russian River. Sonoma County Tourism has released a few new Zoom backgrounds free to access on the partner toolkit page here. #LifeOpensUp
SCHA Annual Meeting
Join the Sonoma County Hospitality Association (via Zoom) on Friday, March 12 at 11 a.m. for its yearly annual meeting. This inspiring hour will provide information and strategies for the year ahead, along with SCHA updates. Special guests will include Senator Mike McGuire, digital marketing consultant Shana Bull, and journalist Matt Villano.

Admission is free for SCHA members and $25 for non-members. Learn more and register 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.