CONTRIBUTED CONTENT — As the new coronavirus continues to impact communities in Southern Utah, many industries are feeling the financial effects. With travel bans and service industry health mandates in place throughout the world, the tourism and hospitality industry continues to bear the brunt of a rapidly changing economy.
“The hospitality industry is kind of the lead, the face of what is going on, because they are being immediately impacted,” said Kevin Lewis, director of the Greater Zion Convention and Tourism Office.
Event postponements, including the Ironman North American Championship St. George which was set for May 2, have sharply impacted hotels, restaurants, shopping, entertainment and event venues, many of which have had to quickly adapt in the face of new restrictions.
While it is easy to see how COVID-19 has changed the hospitality industry, Lewis said the reality is that those event postponements have a ripple effect throughout the entire economy.
“It’s not just the tourism businesses that are impacted,” Lewis said. “Everybody is impacted by it.”
To that end, the Greater Zion Convention and Tourism Office has launched a campaign aimed not only at supporting the tourism industry, but also bringing the Greater Zion community together to find unique and safe ways to support one another through this unprecedented time.
The message of the campaign is “Stay Greater,” inspired by the resilience, optimism and natural helpfulness of the people who make up the communities in Greater Zion.
Information from the campaign states:
Greater Zion is a collection of people and communities filled with optimism and purpose. The determination to overcome challenges is woven in the fabric of the people who live here. It is visible and felt by residents and visitors alike. It has always been that way. Historically we are a people who unite in the face of adversity. Now, with the rippling effects and restraints of COVID-19, we encourage you to generously reach out in the way we always have. Today we invite you to Stay Greater.
The goal of the campaign is to unify and inspire people to take action in ways that are respectful of the health and safety of themselves and others.
“Whatever your circumstance, stand where you are; lift where you can,” Lewis said, adding that now is the time to responsibly support local restaurants and businesses, reach out to family, friends and even those who might be strangers whose lives are being severely impacted by this.
“Together, we’re greater,” Lewis said.
And even though that doesn’t mean being together physically right now, Lewis said the community can still collectively band together in a common goal.
“Do the kinds of things that you always do, that you’ve always done, in the ways that you have to do them now, given the new restrictions,” Lewis said. “Be very responsible in your activity, but don’t shut the door on the opportunity to help.”
The campaign lays out the following suggestions on how to help:
- Support and sustain the people and organizations that make the community vibrant.
- Order online. Many local restaurants, stores and shops offer this great option.
- Curbside pickup. Restaurants and businesses are implementing curbside pickup to make sure patrons can get what they need.
- Gift cards. Buy them now to use later. Buy from local businesses, and order online.
- Stay local. Buy local products and services; consider options before ordering online.
- Advance purchases. Think of items that will be needed in the future and buy them now.
- Keep memberships current. Businesses rely on dues to operate.
- Follow and share favorite businesses on social media. Share innovative solutions and inspirational stories with family and friends.
- Tell others about the great people and places of Greater Zion and encourage them to responsibly support them.
As the community comes together and takes the idea of “Stay Greater” to heart, the tourism office is asking them to share their experiences and encourage and inspire others to join them by using the hashtag #StayGreater when posting on social media.
“Let’s talk about the kinds of things people are doing to stay greater and keep that continuity and consistency and the essence of who we really are,” Lewis said.
For more information about “Stay Greater,” including inspirational stories and tips, along with health, business and economic resources, visit the campaign online at StayGreater.com.
“We’ve overcome before,” information from the campaign states. “By standing and lifting together, we will stay greater.”
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