For officials in one small town, it was a wake-up call to develop a plan to help the local businesses.
Santa Maria Valley, which lies about 65 miles north of Santa Barbara, offers many of the same amenities as the more well-known California destinations, but at a lower price, officials said.
“Santa Maria Valley has so much to offer,” Jennifer Harrison, Direct of the Santa Maria Valley Visitors Bureau, told CNN. “We have beautiful beaches, hotels and wineries that are such a great option for budget-conscious travelers during a time of economic rebound.”
Harrison said her team is working diligently to follow CDC safety protocols, adding that Santa Maria Valley is less crowded than other California destinations and can more easily enforce social-distancing guidelines. She also mentioned that the town typically attracts visitors that come by car, rather than plane, due to the somewhat remote location.
“‘Visit Santa Maria Valley’ is calling on visitors to discover the region in a safe, responsible way,” Harrison said. “Our wine-tasting rooms, outdoor spaces, restaurants and hotels have worked together to evolve health and safety protocols so that visitors can experience the charm of the area.”