Tourism businesses work to keep lights on during dark days

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Power outages in the North Bay’s hospitality and tourism industry are hit and miss, but many seem to be doing what they do best: staying proactive and welcoming visitors.

In the Sonoma Valley, most of the tourism-facing businesses, including restaurants, hotels and wineries, are taking the situation in stride, said Tim Zahner, executive director of the Sonoma Valley Visitors Bureau.

The Basque Boulangerie, the café in the Sonoma Plaza, provided coffee and cookies for the masses since Wednesday morning. And HopMonk Tavern Sonoma has been barbecuing and playing music in the outdoor patio, he said.

Food trucks are selling tacos and gourmet offerings, and many wineries, bars and attractions are open, he said. The bureau is keeping a running list of open businesses at https://www.sonomavalley.com/open/

“It’s not an ideal situation, but this being Sonoma Valley, we’re making a day of it and doing what we do best,” Zahner said. “It’s going to have to take a little more than the lights going off to keep us down.”

Sonoma County Tourism released a brief survey earlier today to its lodging properties to determine how many are open and, if closed, what they’re doing to manage their customers. That feedback is pending.

Claudia Vecchio, SCT’s president and CEO, said the tourism agency has heard that, except for the Fairmont Sonoma Mission Inn in the city of Sonoma, many lodging facilities in the county have power.

“We’ve had a few queries from guests coming to locations that are known to be without power (Cloverdale, for example) and to vacation rentals that do not have power, but it looks like they are being rebooked at other properties,” Vecchio said. “We have not heard about lots of cancellations. This may certainly change if this event lasts into Friday. That will be the tipping point – weekend travel.”

Vecchio noted the financial impact of PG&E’s unprecedented power shutdown on the county isn’t yet known, but that SCT will be tracking it.

Additional information about the power shutdown in the county can be found at https://www.sonomacounty.com/news-release/public-safety-power-shutdowns-psps-announced-sonoma-county.

“We will continue to update our website and our social media channels as information becomes available,” Vecchio said.

In Napa County, a large swath of the region is dark, including St. Helena, but the downtown corridors of American Canyon, the city of Napa, Calistoga, and Yountville have full power, according to Linsey Gallagher, president and CEO of Visit Napa Valley.

Alpha Omega winery in Rutherford is open during its normal business hours, as is Walt Wines, a new tasting room in downtown Napa.

Farmstead at Long Meadow Ranch has backup power throughout its facility and will be open as usual. This includes the restaurant, general store, café and event spaces.

This story has been updated, adding new information from Visit Napa Valley.

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