The Travel Forecast

September 4, 2020

Applications, Hotline for Hotel Evacuees, Recovery Resource Center Now Open

With many hospitality staff and residents in need of temporary housing, lodging operators should be aware that an online application and renewal request form is now available for fire evacuees utilizing the free hotel program managed by the State Department of General Services and supported by FEMA. CZU Lightning Fire Complex evacuees not yet placed at a hotel can click here to submit an initial, first time application for hotel program assistance. Alternately, CZU Lightning Fire Complex evacuees already placed at a hotel can request a renewal of their seven-day reservation if they are within 24 hours of their reservation’s check-out date by clicking here.

A new hotline for evacuees utilizing the free hotel program is also available at 831.454.2181. And a Recovery Resource Center at the Kaiser Permanente Arena has opened to help residents impacted by the CZU Lighting Complex fire connect with the resources needed to recover and rebuild.

Hotel Information for Evacuees:

An online application and renewal request form is now available for fire evacuees utilizing the free hotel program managed by the State Department of General Services and supported by FEMA. CZU Lightning Fire Complex evacuees not yet placed at a hotel can click here to submit an initial, first time application for hotel program assistance. Alternately, CZU Lightning Fire Complex evacuees already placed at a hotel can click here to request a renewal of their seven-day reservation if they are within 24 hours of their reservation’s check-out date.

These links are also available here. Once evacuation orders are lifted, evacuees will be required to check out of their hotel the following morning even if the seven-day reservation has not expired. Evacuees who have not been permitted to return home may stay at their hotel for the remainder of their seven-day reservation duration. If they are within 24 hours of the end of their seven-day reservation and are still under an evacuation order, they can use the online renewal request form to request an extension.

Hotline Information:

CZU Lightning Fire Complex evacuees utilizing the free hotel program may call 831.454.2181 for the following assistance: 

  • Evacuees already placed at a hotel may call to renew their seven-day reservation if they are within 24 hours of their reservation’s check-out date. 
  • Current evacuees not yet placed at a hotel may apply for the program. 
  • General program questions. 

Repopulation of the CZU Lightning Fire Complex evacuation zone has begun. Once your evacuation order is lifted, you will be required to check out of your hotel the following morning even if your seven-day reservation has not expired. You must check out of your hotel once you are able to return home. Currently, repopulated areas do not include fire damage. Click here to read more.

Recovery Resource Center:

The Recovery Resource Center has representatives from numerous agencies will be on hand to answer questions about disaster assistance programs and other support to help families.

Recovery Resource Center

Hours:  Daily, 11 a.m.-7:00 p.m., daily

Where: Kaiser Permanente Arena, 140 Front St., Santa Cruz

Residents can register with FEMA for federal disaster assistance at the center. They can also access information about the rebuilding process, debris removal, utilities, insurance, community, and social services, getting new documents that may have burned in the fire, and other resources. It is not necessary to visit a center to register for and receive federal disaster assistance. Help is available online at DisasterAssistance.gov or by calling the FEMA helpline at 800-621.3362. A FEMA app can also be download via Google Play or the Apple App Store, or text 43362 (4FEMA) on an Android or iPhone.

 

Governor Newsom’s Four-Tier Re-Opening Plan

Late last week, Governor Gavin Newsom released a four-tier plan – a slow, stringent process – to re-open the state as a way to reignite California’s economy as we approach the fifth month of SIP. The Blueprint for a Safer Economy outlines restrictions for each county, and uses a color-coded system, with a Purple Tier 1 represents the highest level of restrictions. Counties move through the following tiers, based on the case and positivity rates, equity metrics assessing data collection, testing access, and contact tracing for communities most impacted by the virus. Tiers include: Purple – Tier 1, Red – Tier 2, Orange – Tier 3, and Yellow – Tier 4.  Santa Cruz County was the first Bay Area County to be removed from the State data monitoring list and was identified as a Purple Tier 1 county.

New assessments of the data begin on September 8th and will be released each Tuesday. There is a 21-day mandatory waiting period before a county can move between tiers and a county can only move forward one tier at a time.

The Blueprint builds on lessons learned from the first six months of the disease – and the new scientific understanding that has been collected to create a new system for regulating movement and COVID-19 transmissions. It includes:

  1. At least 21 days to expand activities beyond the initial tier to ensure California better limits the spread of the virus;
  2. Mandatory metrics – case rates and test positivity – to measure how widespread COVID-19 is in each county and guide what is allowed;
  3. A uniform state framework, with four categories instead of 58 different sets of rules;
  4. A more nuanced way of allowing activity: Instead of open vs. closed, sectors can be partially opened and progressively add to their operations as disease transmission decreases;
  5. A new process for tightening back up again quickly when conditions worsen;

 
As of Monday, Aug. 31, hair salons, barbershops, and malls were able to open indoors with modifications to protect the health and safety of staff and the public.

$1 Million Grant Program Available to Help Small Businesses Through CARES Act

To mitigate the impact of COVID-19 on Santa Cruz County small businesses and their employees, the County of Santa Cruz has committed up to $1 million in one-time funds to businesses located in Santa Cruz County – including the four incorporated cities of Capitola, Watsonville, Scotts Valley, and Santa Cruz. The Small Business Assistance Grant Program – made possible through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES) – will be awarded through a lottery system with the county divided into three grant zones: South, Mid, and North County. These grants will enable a potential of 66 to 100 grants to be given, depending upon the amount requested for each grant. Applications are due on September 15th, and a maximum amount of $15,000 per request will be awarded.  Here’s what you need to know:

Fifty percent of the grants are dedicated to businesses owned by women and socially disadvantaged individuals as defined in the application. Grants may only be used to reimburse items such as payroll expenses, PPE, inventory acquisition in order to re-open or remain open, lease payments for business premises, and other expenditures. More information and an application can be found here in English and here in Spanish.
Completed applications with required attachments must be emailed to:  scccaresrecovery@santacruzcounty.us no later than September 15, 2020. 

Labor Day Weekend – Beach Closures, Evacuee Reminder

Beaches throughout Santa Cruz County will be closed over Labor Day Weekend, from Saturday, September 5th through Monday, September 7th. However, you may visit Capitola Beach from 6 pm to 8 pm and all other beaches from 4 pm to 8 pm on Saturday and Sunday. State beaches will be closed. With more than 13,000 residents still under evacuation orders, many local hotels and visitor accommodations are still housing evacuees. Proprietors are requested to prioritize local evacuees over visitors whenever possible. Read more here.   

Shelters Begin Transition

There are an estimated 500 displaced residents who currently reside in shelters due to the CZU Lightning Complex Fire. With the repopulation of significant areas within the evacuation zone, the County of Santa Cruz is working with the American Red Cross to begin the process of consolidating these shelters to focus on the needs of those with longer-term displacements. Shelter sites remain open at the Santa Cruz County Fairgrounds in Watsonville, Seventh Day Adventists Conference Grounds in Soquel, Cabrillo College in Aptos, Harbor High School in Santa Cruz, and Simpkins Family Swim Center in Live Oak.

CZU Lightning Fire Hospitality Heroes

Santa Cruz County hotels quickly pivoted operations to aid in housing needs for first responders and the tens of thousands of evacuees.  he Four Points by Sheraton Scotts Valley became a critical location for evacuees and firefighters, and Katy Oursler from Mutari Chocolate sprang into action to coordinate donations of produce and enlisted the help of many VSCC partner restaurants including Soif, The Picnic Basket, La Posta, Venus Spirits Kitchen, Snap Taco, Persephone, and others to help feed fire crew and staff. O’Neill Wetsuits began collecting community donations at their surf shop locations, even donating the clothing and shoes they’d normally sell during their annual Memorial Day and Labor Day parking lot sale.  Local artist Meg Venter – whose photos have graced past covers of the Official Santa Cruz County Traveler’s Guide – will donate a set of her photos to anyone donating to a GoFundMe campaign to assist with the fires. Read more here about these hospitality heroes.

Rent and Utility Support Available

The CARES Rental Assistance Program can provide residents of unincorporated Santa Cruz County who have lost income due to the COVID-19 pandemic and whose housing is at risk because they are in areas for rent and/or utility payments. Two application deadlines will list recipients through a random drawing. The deadline to apply for the first random drawing is September 15, 2020. Click here or here.

DID YOU KNOW…..

that Housekeeping Week is taking place September 13 – 19?  VSCC and the California Hotel & Lodging Association are looking for fun, heartwarming, or generally positive stories highlighting housekeepers’ contributions to the lodging industry.  If you or your staff have a positive story to share, please email us no later than September 14th

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