Sedona Businesses doing Excellent Job Operating Safely



July 17, 2020

vc1_2018_kelli_klymenkoYavapai County Public Health Director Leslie Horton recently told me Sedona businesses are doing “an excellent job” operating safely and helping slow the spread of Covid-19.

Evidence, she says, is in the fact that “more often than in the workplace, we see people contracting COVID-19 on the weekend or outside of work.”

A recent positive case at the Chamber serves to illustrate.  A Visitor Center staff member contracted the virus while out of town.  We immediately closed the Center, isolated our then-asymptomatic staffer at home, required all staff and volunteers who were in direct contact to be tested, and instituted a deep cleaning to kill any virus on surfaces.

I’m happy to report that all have tested negative and the Visitor Center reopened last week.  We attribute this in part to good fortune, but mainly to good safety practices. Since the pandemic began, no one has become ill because of contact with a visitor, volunteer or staff at the Center.

Currently, in our phase 1 re-opening strategy, we are not permitting access to the interior of the Visitor Center – we are providing service from tables set up at the entrances. Team members are always masked. Handwashing is frequent and thorough and facility sanitation is done several times a day.

These preventive measures and our rapid response helped isolate the positive case and enabled us to reopen quickly and safely. Any business operating with the same level of alertness can do the same.

Horton’s advice for businesses is to keep up the good work and “remind your team that… they need to use safety practices outside of work.”

This episode also belies the false belief among some that visitors are the biggest or the sole vector for coronavirus in Sedona.  As happened in this case, any Sedonan or area resident can easily return with the virus from an out of town trip.  Businesses – the front lines when it comes to contact with visitors –  are, in Horton’s words, doing “an excellent job” operating safely and helping slow the virus. The virus, in the Governor’s words, “is everywhere” and residents, businesses and visitors must all be vigilant.

I meet regularly with city leaders and health officials such as Leslie Horton for news, advice and refinements in best safety practices.

It bears repeating that in addition to these consultations and our pause in advertising, the Chamber and City are educating visitors about Sedona’s expectations.  We recently produced “No Shirt. No Shoes. No Mask. No Service.” business posters as part of the Sedona | Safe.Clean.Ready program.  This section from our Traveler’s Advisory website deserves quoting at length:

“…Sedona is extremely safety conscious. Recently, Mayor Sandy Moriarty issued an emergency proclamation requiring anyone five years or older in a public place in Sedona to wear a face covering. Please review the proclamation carefully when considering travel to Sedona…join us in adhering to these safety standards.

> Wear a protective face covering in public.  This is critical to everyone’s safety
> Stay home if you are sick or if have been in contact with a sick person
> Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds
> Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth
> Maintain a 6ft distance from others
> Limit contact with others
> Avoid congregation in public areas
> Stay on trails except to let people pass (maintain 6 ft distance)”

These efforts at prevention and containment are just part of an all-out, all-inclusive drive to balance life and livelihoods – one that Sedona’s leaders and residents are meeting with diligence, patience and cooperation.

–Jennifer Wesselhoff, President/CEO