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  • Chamber Continues to Assist with the Safe Reopening of Local Businesses

    From face masks to hand sanitizer, social distancing to staff safety training – more and more local businesses in the Santa Maria Valley are taking steps to safely reopen.

    In accordance with guidelines set by the State of California, Santa Barbara County has now moved through stage 2 of the Governor's Resiliency Roadmap, allowing hair salons and churches to open, and restaurants and retail to serve customers inside their stores in addition to the curbside pickup and delivery options.

    The Chamber has partnered with Santa Barbara County to create the RISE Guide (Reopening in Safe Environments), to assist local businesses through the process of reopening. Businesses ready to reopen must self-certify with the county to show that they are ready to reopening while following health & safety protocols implemented by the State and County.

    For many local restaurants, this meant getting creative with seating to allow for social distancing.

    “We have created a seating area with tables /umbrellas and chairs in front of our restaurant so our customers can feel safe and at the same time practicing social distancing,” explained Cielito Lindo Mexican Grill. The restaurant has also trained their staff on all health and safety changes needed to operate safely.

    Urbane Café in Santa Maria is also keeping in-restaurant dining options limited to their patio only.

    “Since our restaurant is small we are not opening up the inside dining room. We are opening up our patio seating instead,” the restaurant explained. “We are sanitizing each table after use or every 10 minutes, whichever comes first. We also have social distancing stickers on the floors and a manager always directing traffic.”

    Other local restaurants have chosen to continue only offering takeout and delivery options for now, because of the limited dine-in capabilities with the social distancing requirements.

    Cups & Crumbs in Old Town Orcutt continues to offer takeout from their coffee cart outside of their café. The restaurant says their dine-in area is too small for it to make sense to serve people in the restaurant and be able to safely practice social distancing.

    Other industries have been making significant changes to the way they operate to be able to reopen safely.  InSPArations says their salon has been spending a lot of time preparing for their reopening, and the business was well prepared to open safely when the announcement was made the hair salons were eligible for reopening.

    “Our salon has a number of protocols in place to protect the health and safety of our clients and staff,” the salon explained. “We have a COVID-19 consent form and waiver for all clients to read and sign. We will be disinfecting our work area before and after each client. All rugs, chairs, and pillows have been removed from the salon, and we have upgraded to a commercial-grade washer and dryer to keep up with all the extra washing and disinfecting requirements.”

    As businesses across different industries continue to reopen, the Chamber remains actively involved in assisting the business community, providing resources and working one on one with those who have questions or need extra assistance.

    “As a Champion for our local business community, it is important the Chamber plays and active role in the reopening and recovery process,” explained Santa Maria Chamber President and CEO Glenn Morris. “We want our businesses to know we are here to provide support, answer questions, and connect them with the resources they need to reopen safely and continue to operate successfully.”

    The Chamber encourages everyone to visit the County’s reopening resources, which provides a detailed look at steps local businesses need to take before they reopen. The Chamber also has a number of additional resources available on their Reopening & Recovery Toolkit page.

    In addition to providing resources for businesses, the Chamber continues to support & promote those businesses who have safely reopened. All businesses who are reopening are encouraged to fill out the Chamber’s “Safe and Open” pledge, and the Chamber will provide them with marketing resources and additional exposure on Chamber social media channels. The Chamber is also continuing their #SMVOpenForBusiness hashtag campaign, and encourages all local businesses to get involved in that as well.

    “We have seen throughout this pandemic how our community has stepped up to support one another during times of need”, Morris said. “The Chamber will continue to support local businesses in whatever ways we can, and we encourage our community to shop local, dine local, and help assure success to local businesses as they reopen and recover.”