Partial and Voluntary Re-opening



May 8, 2020


Today is a day you may greet with excitement, anxiety or a blend of both. Under Governor Doug Ducey’s Executive Order, retail stores may re-open this morning, provided they “implement best practices to address COVID 19.”   On Monday, restaurants may resume dine-in service, with appropriate social distancing and parties no larger than ten.

This partial and voluntary re-opening is designed to gradually begin getting people back to work as COVID 19 infections show a downward trend – putting public safety first while pumping oxygen into our damaged economy. How damaged?  As reported in the Red Rock News this week, a recent NAU survey shows 77 percent of responding retail businesses in Sedona are temporarily closed.

The City of Sedona and the Chamber are helping by assembling a list of best operational safety practices for businesses under the slogan “Sedona: Safe.Clean.Ready.”   We have consulted with local business owners and health officials while examining practices around the country to create a list that is close to finalization.  When completed, The City and Chamber’s recommended practices will serve as a guide which each business can decide whether to voluntarily implement.  We will post the recommendations online in coming days and continually update the local businesses who sign on.

Our business community understands safety must come first. Customers must see social distancing and other protocols rigorously enforced to feel confident shopping or eating out again.  Employees must feel safe returning to the workplace. Everyone can see reopening must be handled carefully. No one wants to close again.

Our goal is twofold: assist businesses looking for guidance on best practices for operating safely and give Sedonans information about how businesses are handling this next phase.

Individual decisions will remain a critical safety component. While businesses enact rigorous safety standards, each of us must do our part: be conscious of social distancing, wash hands regularly, consider wearing a mask, and make your decisions based on what you feel safe and comfortable doing.

Our economy, businesses, employees and city have suffered grievously during the stay-at-home quarantine phase.

The cost in dreams dashed, family finances depleted, school or career plans postponed or obliterated simply cannot be calculated.

But Sedona is fighting back.  With the re-opening starting today, and restaurants coming back next week, people are returning to work.  Our tourism-based economy is getting special treatment. The Governor has launched a statewide task force focused exclusively on rebooting the tourism economy and Sedona is well represented.  The Chamber has formed a Sedona Tourism Economy Recovery Task Force which includes city government leaders as well as local businesses.  We are sharpening plans for strategic marketing, gradually refilling our hotels, and over time, safely reintroducing attractions and events.

It will be a long journey, and the coronavirus will continue to be with us along the way.  But we can do it and we will do it.  Mark the date.  Today’s limited retail opening makes May 8, 2020 historic – the first step on the road to a vibrant, recovered, sustainable Sedona.

–Jennifer Wesselhoff, President/CEO