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Tourism Industry Mobilizes to Help Communities

By Erin DeMarois 04/13/2020

In the face of adversity, Californians in the travel and tourism industry are rising up to provide relief. Businesses and destinations are mobilizing their facilities, workforces and one-of-a-kind resources to help their communities. 

California restaurants are giving food donations to charitable meal provisions and stepping up to help out-of-work staff. 

  • Farmer’s Table restaurant in San Diego's Little Italy transitioned into a nonprofit community kitchen to feed first responders and healthcare workers.
  • Cafe Sevilla Spanish Restaurant and Tapas Bar, with three locations in Southern California, has donated over 2,000 pounds of food to local food pantries and homeless shelters.
  • James Beard Award winner Chef Nancy Silverton and Maker’s Mark bourbon created the Restaurant Workers Relief Fund running out of Silverton’s restaurant chi SPACCA to provide dinner and supplies to out-of-work L.A. restaurant workers.
  • Celebrity Chef Joachim Splichal and the team behind Patina Restaurant Group prepped, delivered and served over 3,000 meals in one week, working with three local hospitals and The Hollywood Food Coalition.

Distilleries are converting their alcohol into hand sanitizer to protect medical staff.

Despite closures, hotels throughout California are aiding their employees and communities.

  • Evans Hotels — which includes Bahia Resort Hotel, Catamaran Resort Hotel and Spa, and The Lodge at Torrey Pines in San Diego County — will continue its employee cafeteria services, allowing all employees to have access to meals at no cost.
  • Tenaya Lodge will keep its 24-hour Emergency Response team active to serve Fish Camp and areas north to county lines.

Destinations are finding creative solutions to support local residents and businesses.

  • Mammoth Lakes Tourism created an ad-hoc food bank– the DMO ordered non-perishable food goods from US Foods and created bags with items for singles, couples and families.
  • The St. Helena Chamber of Commerce and the City of St. Helena created a gift card purchasing portal on to support local businesses that may not have a gift card system to continue operations during a time of decreased sales or temporary closures.

Retailers are drawing on their production expertise to manufacturing protective equipment. 

  • Best known for handmade leather goods, Oceanside’s Rais Case is sewing masks to give to local hospitals, the homeless and others.
  • Hedley & Bennett, a premium chef-quality apron retailer based out of Los Angeles, started production of reusable, protective face masks and set up a corresponding donation portal.

Discover more stories like these in the Californians Doing Good story idea on Visit California’s Media Center.


Please submit your organization’s community outreach or other creative responses to the challenges raised by the coronavirus pandemic. Visit California features industry submissions in new consumer content and media pitches.

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