On July 23rd, the City Council of Scotts Valley held a Town Hall dedicated to supporting local business through the latest string of closures, which they predicted would be enforced within a week. The meeting took place just in time, as five days later, Santa Cruz County was placed on the COVID state monitoring list for three days. As of July 28th, for three weeks, indoor activities taking place in gyms, worship centers, hair and nail salons, non-essential offices, shopping malls, and protests are canceled. Throughout the meeting, Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Danny Reber, City Manager Tina Friend, Vice Mayor Derek Timm, and Mayor Randy Johnson spoke of ways to support our community through these next trying weeks, and also answered questions from small business owners.
Friend began the meeting with an update on the COVID 19 status in Santa Cruz County. While the numbers she shared is now inaccurate, she commended santacruzhealth.org/coronavirus as a vital source of current information for all community members. The City Manager also explained that with the difficulties of “such a rollercoaster up and down of regulations, Santa Cruz County is now completely under Governor Newsom’s orders, no longer our Santa Cruz Health Officer Gail Newell’s guidance.”
Mayor Johnson described his hopes for the town hall, “We now have the ability to prepare… Think creatively about how you can adapt. We’re trying to give you information. It’s so important right now, so hopefully you find this informational and inspirational.” Vice Mayor Timm added what businesses can do to prepare, “Now is time to have discussions with employees. How are you going to react to employee getting COVID? If you have more than a handful of employees, it will happen, so you need to plan for it. Think ‘How can I pivot to transition my business, whether online, outside, take out, etc.? Those [pivoting businesses] will be our survivors.” Timm also encouraged more communication between City Council and businesses, “If we don’t know what’s happening we can’t do anything about it. Let us know, reach out.” Executive Director Reber echoed Timm, “Everyone in Scotts Valley that needs help is a chamber member right now… As hard as this is, I feel Scotts Valley is really coming together.”
Each meeting participant wished they could do more for ailing businesses. Johnson lamented, “If there was a way we could give financial assistance we would. I’m glad we’ve been able to give you a financial road map, but I wish we could do more.” However, while the speakers lacked financial aid for businesses, they had other ideas to alleviate economic stress on Scotts Valley. Each speaker called for collective health measures to protect and speed Scotts Valley’s recovery. Friend advised, “It behooves us to operate like there is active COVID in our community.” Timm urged, “Facial coverings matter… We would be done within 4-5 weeks, if everyone wore masks.” Johnson emphasized the power of businesses during COVID, “Businesses can expand this message to customers and our community as a whole.” Reber voiced concern, not over official work interactions, but “in the break room and after work, ‘offline’ is where we see the worst practices.”
If you’ve yet to, check out www.santacruzhealth.org/coronavirus for the most up to date information on our county’s COVID case count. If you’re a Scotts Valley small business owner, reach out to email@example.com to get on the City Council’s small business mailing list, or learn more about potential loans and resources.