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It's Time To Think About How To Move Forward

By Sharon Byrne, Executive Director, Montecito Association

As we reported last night, the United States has given guidance on opening up. I sent you screen shots, and the full presentation is here.

Open it up, because this next bit requires us to look at 2 sets of guidance, and start figuring out how we’re going to respond as a community.

Governor’s guidance on lifting stay-at-home order:

  • The ability to monitor and protect our communities through testing, contact tracing, isolating, and supporting those who are positive or exposed;

  • The ability to prevent infection in people who are at risk for more severe COVID-19;

  • The ability of the hospital and health systems to handle surges;

  • The ability to develop therapeutics to meet the demand;

  • The ability for businesses, schools, and child care facilities to support physical distancing; and

  • The ability to determine when to reinstitute certain measures, such as the stay-at-home orders, if necessary.

Governor Newsom will now give updates every Wednesday on how we’re doing as a state on this. Today’s briefing is here:

His remarks:

California had the lowest unemployment and greatest job growth in the country going into this. We’re now in a pandemic-induced recession in the state of California. 3.1 million have applied for unemployment, but it’s a 5.1% unemployment rate.

95 lives lost last night in California – the highest number yet. 983 total lives lost. Puts this moment in perspective. Our death rate is the highest it has been. We need to continue the stay-at-home orders.

Everyone wants to get our economy fired back up. But we need to be guided by health and science navigating through this. Need to be prescriptive and targeted in our strategies as we regionally focus and by sector on our economic recover.

The consequences of our actions as California will have consequences across the United States.

So he’s created an economic Task Force:

Some of the most well known business leaders in the world live in California. Tasked 80 of these to put together plans for short and long term economic recovery.

Former governors Pete Wilson, Gray Davis, Arnold Schwarzenegger and Jerry Brown will form the Advisory Group to this team. Former presidential candidate Tom Steyer will chair.

The California Way forward will include growth and inclusion as its key strategy. The inequality issue was particularly visible in California in the pre-pandemic economy.

We are guided in our recovery with those considerations deeply at heart and in our minds. We need to have a sustainable mindset, not just situational. It’s in the HOW we recover by which we will ultimately judge ourselves.


So let’s talk a minute about how we suss this out for our local economy. We had an earlier call hosted today by the Montecito Journal with multiple businesses and elected officials. The county will likely have to take the lead on implementing the US and governor’s guidelines. The county can impose more stringent conditions than the US or the state as appropriate to the needs of our community.

But they can’t implement LESS stringent ones. So we at least know the backstop of the conditions for moving forward: those imposed by the federal and state governments.

We applaud the Montecito Journal for being the first to gather the business community and start pushing with our elected officials to figure out how re-opening will look and what businesses can do right now to survive.

Here are the inflection points of moving forward:

1. We’re not eligible to enter the US Phase 1 (see that document above of all their Phases) because we haven’t seen 14 day declines in cases and hospitalizations as a state.

2. So we probably should not expect the stay-at-home order to be lifted soon.

3. But we can prepare ourselves and move into Phase I ahead of the order, because we know what it looks like. For example, we now know we should all be wearing masks in public under that criteria. The governor indicated tonight he’s leaning to face coverings. Where can you get these? I’ve got a list going for you at the bottom of this article.

4. Restaurants should sign on delivery partners like DoorDash and GrubHub, and they’re offering ZERO commission (meaning you keep your sales) for 30 days.

5. Everyone in a business should be thinking of how to reconfigure their floor space to accommodate Phase I US guidance, which encourages telecommuting and requires 6 ft distancing. You can do that now. Some have already done it.

6. Many of us have moved to Zoom meetings and online ways of doing business. Get Venmo, boost your websites, and amp up your email marketing strategies.

Supervisor Williams published these upcoming resources for your business:

Register NOW: Crisis Recovery: Cash Flow Management to Survive and Thrive

April 20 | 5:00 - 6:00 pm

SCORE Panelists Greg Loosvelt and Eric Saltzman will discuss how to create forward looking cash flow projections and prepare your business for the recovery.

Register NOW: How to Email Market in Times of Business Downturn

April 23 | 4:00-5:00 pm

To generate positive outcomes, your business has to reach the right customers with targeted campaigns. Research says that for every $1 spent on e-mail marketing there is an average $44 return on investment. Join Patty Ross for this discussion of basic and advanced techniques to propel your email marketing efforts.

Register NOW: Marketing Advice to Combat an Economic Downturn

April 28 | 10:00 am - 11:00 am

Wondering how to market your business during the economic downturn related to coronavirus (COVID-19)? Consistent, clear communication with your customers is vital, so they understand when, how, and where they can still do business with you.

If you don’t own a business, you will be patronizing some of these when they reopen! So it helps you to know how they’re going to have to operate, and you can nudge them if you see an area of deficiency and help them be better and stronger as we enter this next phase.

On today’s call, Gwyn Lurie coined the phrase “it takes a village to save a village”, and she’s 100% right. As our businesses prepare for this next phase, it’s important we support them in any way we can as a community. Gwyn is starting a local business advisory group to help with this process, and we committed to helping in any way we can.

OK – the Face Mask front.

First a HUGE thanks to volunteers Pam Lund and the whole team at MERRAG that got out the 100 donated masks we picked up from Clare Swan’s wonderful friend Arlene in Carpinteria, who sewed them for us in one day. She sewed another 20 for neighbor Sharon Ludtke, and she got those over to the Foodbank for their workers. Here’s a MERRAG volunteer setting out on his mask delivery route into Montecito, skillfully organized by Sue Zilliotto:

If you’d like to donate to MERRAG to keep their efforts in our community going, we welcome you to do so here. We sure appreciate them for stepping up to help us get masks out into our community!

I simply have to admire the creativity and willingness of people to serve at this time.

To buy facemasks (and there are local sewing brigades springing up all over):

Lisa Green runs Blissful Boutiques in Santa Barbara, and she’s got a slew of masks in she sells for $5 each. You Venmo (let me know if you need to know how to do this) your order to her or email her at and she’ll tell you where to pick them up. She does accept cash. Here’s what she’s got:

There’s another one I found on Facebook today:

Ok so that is the news for today, and it’s a lot to think about.

I actually want to prod you to start thinking! This community is blessed to have some of the most amazing people living in it, people with talent, skills and vision. Plus you know a lot about how to do things! Nick Welsh of the Santa Barbara Independent, in a call I had with him where we mutually despaired over local leadership in this crisis, wondered if I could rustle up some retired crisis managers in Montecito that might be able to help navigate through this? I seriously thought about calling more than a few of you…My point is you have talent, you have voice, and you might have a little time right now. If you have solid ideas on how we can help everyone move through this crisis in to the next phase, and want to step up, let us hear from you! I’ve already had some sage coaching from Robert Ornstein, Frank Blue, Clare Swan, and Chief Taylor of MFPD, for which I am most appreciative.

If you feel you need extra emotional support at this time, please consider calling the Community Wellness Team, put together by the Behavioral Wellness Department. (805) 364-2750. They are the best in the state right now for dealing with disaster-related trauma and anxiety. All services are covered by Medicare. Thank you to neighbor Lisa Cullen, who sent me this uplifting video, at a time I needed it most. I hope you enjoy it too. I hope you enjoy this evening, and weekend, and are staying safe and healthy.

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