Brower: The SOS campaign that really could help to save our economy this winter
Grand Enterprise Initiative
Are things really so dire with COVID that Grand County’s winter season could go down the drain?
In a word, yes.
If the spread of COVID in the county gets to the point where our local department of public health must move our COVID level to the highest restriction of purple, well then there will be a shutdown that would essentially limit organized skiing and activities like that (restaurants, bars, other public venues) to the point where they are closed.
So all of us in the county should be working to keep the COVID level at its current level of orange, or red. Purple will be very bad news for business in the county.
Which is the reason the Winter Park and Fraser Chamber of Commerce, the Grand County Department of Economic Development, the Grand County Colorado Tourism Board and many others are getting on board with a public awareness blitz called Save Our Season.
Many readers will have already seen ads, posters, window stickers and such urging that people take precautions so that we can all work together to save our season. My favorite, however, is one unofficial notice I saw on the front door of Lion Head Coffee in Granby. It wasn’t a fancy flier. It was a simple scribble on a piece of white paper. It says: “Please wear a mask or they will take our ski season away!!”
This large, county wide program is premised on the simple notion that if people wear masks, social distance and wash their hands, then we can keep the spread of COVID down to the point where we don’t go into the red zone or, God forbid, the purple zone.
So the Save Our Season message also features the idea of the four “Ws”. That is: Wear a Mask, Wash Your Hands, Watch Your Distance and Work From Home.
For the civil and political libertarians out there who bristle at the thought of government “telling” them what to do because they have their “freedom,” this program is something that they should embrace. It is, after all, not a law or a governmental dictate. It’s a program by the business community suggesting in clear terms that people should follow some basic guidelines to protect the local economy.
It’s also a program that goes out of its way to suggest measures that would forestall the need for government to step in and make mandates about shutdowns for further mandatory restrictions on business.
Catherine Ross with the Winter Park chamber and DiAnn Butler, the county’s economic developer, are working together to get this messaging out there. Butler and Ross are promoting it through email blasts and cooperative messaging. Both say there will be social media messaging, email campaigns, fliers, posters and door hangers (and other tactics) to get the message out there.
And remember, this isn’t targeted only to locals. If summer is any gauge, there will be many visitors in the county starting soon. They need to get the message too, especially if they come from some of the states where there’s been an odd sort of disdain about measures like mask wearing and social distancing.
Ross said the program is similar to one she learned about from chamber member Sarah Bradford, who has businesses in Winter Park and Steamboat Springs. Steamboat has an SOS program, she told Ross, and Ross and others embraced the idea behind the program. The good thing is it’s even more likely to be effective if two neighboring resort counties embrace it.
Nobody here is “ordering” anyone to do what needs to be done. People are pleading and begging with a good awareness campaign. It just makes sense.
Patrick Brower is the Enterprise Facilitator for the Grand Enterprise Initiative. He offers free and confidential business management coaching to anyone who wants to start or expand a business in Grand County. He can be reached by calling 970-531-0632 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Things are starting to get back to normal finally.