By: Crista Luedtke of boon brands and Michael Volpatt of Big Bottom Market
Hello RRCOC Members and Lower Russian River Community Members…
It goes without saying that we have been faced with extraordinary challenges over the last few months. Many of us expect these challenges to persist into 2021, as we pivot our businesses and learn new ways to live and work in the age of a pandemic.
However, with any challenge — like fires, floods, and power outages — comes resiliency and creativity. We are a community of smart people and entrepreneurs and we are all #bettertogether.
With the Memorial Day weekend ahead of us and the summer season not far behind, many have asked what will we do when the inevitable migration of visitors from all over the Bay Area and beyond descend onto our community. As business owners we recognize the value this will bring to the hard work we have done to stay open. We also recognize the risks and that many community members have concerns about the visiting public.
So, we sat down and came up with what we believe are important guidelines for those who want to visit the River, Redwoods, and Coast. We hope that you will share this with others and offer feedback as well.
Russian River Chamber of Commerce — Guidelines for Visitors in the Lower Russian River
#1 — Your Health Yourself
While we look forward to seeing outsiders come to our community, the health and wellness of our locals are of the utmost importance. We are doing our best to keep everyone safe, but you must take charge of your own health as well. Our local business community will do everything they can within the county established guidelines to protect their team members and the public, but the burden of safety cannot solely lay on the shoulders of already challenged small business owners. Please take the time to ensure that you are protecting yourself and the people traveling with you. We’ve all done a great job of flattening the curve. Let’s work together and keep it flat. We need to keep our community safe.
#2 — Continue to Follow the Guidelines
Please ensure that you follow all of the guidelines that have been outlined by local, state, and federal health authorities. These include:
** Do not come to our community or enter our facilities if you have any signs of fever, cough, or shortness of breath.
** Practice social distancing by staying six feet apart.
** Wear a face covering when in public and unable to maintain social distance. Be sure to keep one with you at all times.
** Avoid touching your face, eyes, nose, and mouth.
** Regularly wash your hands and use sanitizer to keep your digits clean.
** Cough into a cloth or tissue, if not available, into your elbow and then wash your hands immediately.
** Do not shake hands or engage in any unnecessary contact.
** Carry hand sanitizer with you.
#3 — Don’t Overwhelm Our Grocery Stores
If you are coming up from the city or elsewhere, please bring your own groceries/snacks with you and only shop in the grocery store when it is absolutely essential. Our grocery stores have done a great job of keeping stock available and ensuring the safety of our community members and their employees. Shopping is already a challenge for many and the thought of visitors overwhelming our stores is a scary one — especially for those with a pre-existing condition or immunocompromised. You can do your part by coming prepared with grocery-picnic essentials.
#4 — Spend Money and Support Local!
Limited shopping for essentials at our grocery stores doesn’t mean we don’t want you spending money at local restaurants, wineries, and retail stores. Your dollars are an essential part of keeping our vacation community alive. Not only does your money contribute to the many small businesses in the area, but it also helps with our tax revenues. Commerce helps to pay employees and keep local businesses’ doors open. It also fixes roads, ensures our power lines are in working order, pays for fire protection, keeps the community infrastructure safe and running, and employs local officials who are working hard to govern during this unprecedented crisis. Please contribute to our economy and help us continue to serve you while keeping the beauty of this area alive.
#5 — Visit Open Parks and Public Spaces and Follow The Rules
Our parks and public spaces are there for everyone and they all have specific guidelines on what you can and cannot do. Each area is different and we recommend using the Internet to understand the rules of engagement and what you can do to protect yourself and others while also being compliant. Remember that many parks and spaces that may seem as though they are public may be private. Heed signs that say “Closed” or “No Trespassing”. Those signs are there for a reason so please follow the rules.
#6 — Be Nice and Respect Authority
Above all, please be nice and respect the authority of our first responders. Police and fire women and men as well as security guards and others on the front lines have been swiftly responding to crises as they happen. Keep yourself out of trouble and keep our community humming with happiness. Smiles have gone a long way in keeping all of us sane. Even if they are behind masks, for now. Let’s stay safe.
Tourism isn’t dangerous, being Irresponsible is. Let’s do this together. Keep Sonoma safe.