May 31, 2020
by Sarah Glade Gurney
Mayor Patrick Slayter wants Sebastopol residents to know where to turn for help during this pandemic. He’s particularly concerned about access to critical information for folks who are less likely to use a computer and/or cell phone with ease. Working with City Staff, he’s created a door hanger summarizing key information. It will be hand-delivered to each residential address in town, importantly saving the cost of postage when the City’s revenue is in freefall.
The door hanger includes a “sticky note” explaining how it was delivered. Our Senior Center will deliver the first 150 to every meal recipient in their programs. The balance will be walked door-to-door by volunteers adhering to COVID-19 guidelines.
Watch for the masked and gloved delivery angel stopping briefly at your door.
Thanks to a significant contribution from the Gravenstein Health Action Chapter and the use of additional unspent funds in the City budget, Mayor Slayter was able to place an order with RKA Luggage in Windsor to make 500 surgical-style masks that are washable and reusable. He and Vice Mayor Glass proposed giving them to businesses to hand out to avoid conflicts between masked and unmasked customers. Similarly, the driver of our Local Shuttle #24 will carry a free supply to give to any unmasked rider.
Thanks to the swift generosity of some local donors, the SebastoMASK Program has doubled in size, expanded to more colors (back, gold, deep red, and white), and included the City logo. The additional masks will go to the City’s most vulnerable, such as congregate populations in high density housing projects, seniors, and street campers. As with the door hangers, the free masks will be packaged with instructions and information, then distributed by volunteers.
City Staff is available to help local business implement curbside pick-up service for their customers. Interested businesses—retail and restaurant — can call or email the Planning Department for details. The notion is to cone off several parking places, even on our downtown streets owned by Caltrans, to allow a driver to cruise in for delivery. Ideally, one location would accommodate two or three businesses.
In our immediate future, restaurants can convert public and private parking lots into seating areas to accommodate outdoor dining. Imagine a server exiting your favorite restaurant and crossing the sidewalk to set a plate of food—yay, someone else cooked!—at a table set up in a parking space.
Rededicating space previously reserved for cars will allow restaurants to start up again and, once interior dining returns, to recapture some of the interior seating capacity lost to social distancing.
What restaurant wants to be first to figure out how to move outdoors? Call or email the Planning Department for help. Then get ready for the onslaught of deprived Seb-towners seeking food and company outside.
During May, Sebastopol Hardware encouraged local employers to order lunch for their employees from local restaurants providing take-out. The store also gave a 10% discount to shoppers who brought in a receipt from a local restaurant—an important benefit because all Super Saturdays and Senior Discounts had to be cancelled due to crowding.
Two other new non-profit ventures support business in Sebastopol. SebastoBOX, created by hand by Laura Hagar Rush, delivers sentimental treats from local business to nearby purchasers who need comfort and solace from their favorite stores: for instance, coffee from Retrograde, scones from Criminal Baking, chocolate and tea from Sonoma Chocolatiers, all those treasured items and more.
Thegroceryproject.org helps local, independent markets sell online. Community Market is launching their grocery box (groceries for a week developed by the Ceres Project) and Willowside Meats also has aCarnivore Box available.
Laura encourages folks to spread this news on social media, “The more the merrier for our merchants.”
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