The Travel Forecast

November 19, 2020

Countywide “Shop Local” Campaign to Launch with Collaborative Effort Amongst Area Agencies

This week, VSCC along with multiple agencies countywide kicks off an effort to support local businesses by promoting “shop local” ahead of the typical holiday rush. With the U.S. now in the 8th month of the global COVID-19 Pandemic and Santa Cruz County entering the Purple Tier, hotels, local businesses, and restaurants have been particularly hard-hit and have felt the effect of dramatically reduced sales and revenue. 

With new Purple Tier restrictions affecting local businesses, the Santa Cruz County Chamber of Commerce, Downtown Santa Cruz Association, Santa Cruz Wharf, Capitola Business Improvement District, Boulder Creek Business Association, the Pajaro Valley Chamber of Commerce and Agriculture, Scotts Valley Chamber of Commerce, Santa Cruz Works, and other agencies have joined together to launch this Shop Local Santa Cruz County campaign.

This free promotion will promote seasonal shopping in Santa Cruz County for VSCC and any other local organization that wants to help support small businesses. The promotion will kick off next week and will be ongoing through the holiday season and beyond. Watch an upcoming Travel Forecast for more details!

COVID-19 Update: Santa Cruz County Enters Purple Tier, Governor Announces Curfew

Santa Cruz County has once again entered the Purple Tier which brings major restrictions to local businesses and residents. Travel advisories aimed at non-essential out-of-state travel have been issued. Governor Newsom is joined by Governors Jay Inslee from Washington State and Kate Brown from Oregon in urging individuals arriving from other states or countries to self-quarantine for 14 days after arriving home and limit interactions to immediate household members. Non-essential travel is defined as travel that is considered tourism or recreational in nature. Today Governor Newsome announced a limited stay at home order, between the hours of 10PM and 5AM in counties which are in the Purple Tier, starting on Saturday, November 21st through 5AM Tuesday, December 21st.

California’s positivity rate is 4.6 percent, up from 3 percent on October 29, 2020.  Currently, there are 594 positive, active cases of COVID in Santa Cruz County.

With COVID cases surging in California, 94 percent of the California population was placed in the Purple Tier today, with Governor Newsom taking immediate and swift action to slow the spread of the virus, “pulling the emergency brake” in the Blueprint for a Safer Economy. The action will have a number of effects on individuals, businesses, and the daily lives of the nearly 40 million Californians. 

To recap, the Purple Tier restrictions include:

  • Hotels: open with modifications; fitness centers, pools and spas can be open outdoors with modifications. Indoor pools, hot tubs, saunas, and steam rooms must close.
  • Restaurants:  Outdoor dining only
  • Retail:  Can operate at 25 percent indoor capacity
  • Bars:  Closed (those serving food, must follow restaurant guidelines)
  • Fitness clubs: Outside operations only
  • Hair salons and barbershops:  Can open with modifications
  • No indoor gatherings
  • Governor Newsom is also reinforcing the importance of wearing face coverings and require individuals to wear a mask whenever outside their home, with limited exceptions.
  • The advisories define essential travel as travel for work and study, critical infrastructure support, economic services and supply chains, health, immediate medical care, and safety and security. 

Resources for those Affected by COVID

As COVID cases rise locally and throughout the state, the health and safety of visitors, guests, employees, and staff are of primary concern to business owners. Santa Cruz County public health officials are offering a resource for employers that can help answer questions as the pandemic continues.

On Friday, November 20, from 2PM to 3PM a free webinar in the form of a presentation and question and answer period will be held. Open to all local employers, this virtual town hall will address workplace issues related to managing COVID, including resources available for local employers and employees, what to do if there is a workplace exposure, what is AB 685, and more. To join, click here Online participation is strongly encouraged to access visual materials. However, employers may also call 916-318-9542 to listen in. Use conference ID 984607670#

COVID-19: Where to Get TEsted + Hope for the Holidays

With COVID making headlines, there are two important resources state and local health officials want to ensure county residents have access to as flu season and the holidays approach. Self-care takes many forms, and physical and emotional health are key this time of year, in particular as the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays will be more insular as a result of the virus. Both of these resources are free of charge.

The Santa Cruz County Health Services Agency has established a website dedicated to identifying where you can get tested for COVID. Both the seasonal flu and COVID have some similar symptoms. However, health officials recommend that if you experience even mild symptoms (cough, fever, shortness of breath/difficulty breathing) of COVID-19, get tested right away. Getting tested with even mild symptoms aligns with national recommendations to broaden the clinical criteria on who is considered appropriate for testing.

The Pajaro Valley Chamber of Commerce & Agriculture and Kaiser-Permanente are co-hosting an upcoming free webinar through Eventbrite addressing stress and anxiety during the pandemic. Register for this free webinar here which takes place on Monday, November 23rd from 11A – Noon.

Additionally, the California Department of Healthcare Services offers crisis support for communities impacted by a national disaster, including COVID-19 and wildfires. The CalHOPE Warm Line is a peer-run statewide mental health hotline which offers free nonemergency emotional support and referrals via phone or instant messaging Monday – Friday 7AM – 11PM, Saturdays 7AM – 11PM, and Sundays 7AM – 9PM.  1.833.317.HOPE (4673)

ERC County Blueprint Status Report

The weekly County Blueprint Status Report related to COVID-19 in Santa Cruz County is available for the week of November 17th in English and Spanish. (These updates are provided by the Economic Recovery Council of Santa Cruz County (ERC).  Information from the ERC aligns with state and county health officials, Governor Newsom’s Blueprint for a Safer Economy, Santa Cruz County Health Services Agency, and SAVE Lives Santa Cruz County

Take the Safety Pledge!

Send us a snap of your staff and employees taking the Safety Pledge and VSCC will feature your business on our social media channels! VSCC’s Let’s Cruz Safely campaign reminds locals and visitors that practicing safe persona protocols is paramount to keeping our community healthy and restarting our Santa Cruz County economy. 

Clean + Safe Kudos

Congratulations to the Chaminade Resort & Spa and the Holiday Inn Express & Suites Watsonville, which are among 27 Santa Cruz County properties to be Clean + Safe certified by the California Hotel & Lodging Association (CHLA). As a reminder:  all lodging properties are members of CHLA and have the capacity to become certified as a benefit of their membership. Find out how your property can become Clean + Safe certified here!  

Debris Flow Virtual Town Hall Event Announced

The County of Santa Cruz is offering a COVID-19-safe virtual town hall meeting to answer questions from residents about the potential for winter debris flow events as the rainy seasons approaches. Following severe fires, the risks from flooding, mudflows and debris flows are significantly elevated, posing a threat to life and property. A debris flow evacuation map has been established, and residents can learn more at the Debris Flow Town Hall on Saturday, November 21st from 11AM – 12:30PM by logging on here or calling in on 916.318.9542, using Conference ID: 339 015 665#. Recordings of two previously held online town hall events on the subject can be accessed here. Attendees to Saturday’s event are reminded to wear a mask and practice social distancing.

Did you know……

that Arts Council Santa Cruz County has created an online presence where 357 Santa Cruz County visual artists can showcase their work and artistic vision? The Visual Arts Network is an online hub where you can search by artist name, medium, location, Open Studios artists, artists taking appointments, and more. Visit the Network often throughout the year to find a new artist in your neighborhood or connect with your favorite local creators and get inspired!

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