GRANTS PASS – In less than 48 hours after the governor’s mandates on social distancing closed the dining rooms of local restaurants, the City of Grants Pass and local business leaders worked together to devise a campaign to provide immediate assistance to restauranteurs and business owners impacted by the new restrictions.
Under his authority as city manager, Aaron Cubic immediately authorized the implementation of temporary 15-minute take-out parking provisions and the creation of signs to be distributed to local restaurants for their use as they adapt to the ban of on-site dining.
Cubic then put in motion the full cooperation of the city’s business advocate and information coordinator to assist local restaurants and businesses with an aggressive campaign to inform the public of restaurants offering take-out and/or delivery services and adjusted operating hours of local retail and service outlets.
“The city wants to do what we can to support our local merchants during this unprecedented situation,” said Cubic. “Economic development and local business support has always been an important part of the services the city provides to our community.”
Cubic announced the programs to a small group of business owners at a meeting organized by downtown merchant Shannon Holder, who coordinates the Grants Pass Downtown Merchants social media group.
Holder is assisting with the compilation of lists of businesses and their adjusted hours for posting to a page on the city’s website. That information, paired with a list of local eateries with take-out options will be promoted through the city’s various messaging platforms, including email subscribers, social media, and the city’s monthly newsletter, GP Now.
“We are going to encourage residents to order take-out at least once per week, or as often as their budgets will allow them to help keep our restaurants alive. We hope that take-out diners will also continue to shop at our local outlets before and after picking up their meals,” said Information Coordinator Steven Sabel.
Sabel created a social media campaign for merchants to connect to with various hashtags and webpages to share and promote. Holder is creating special promotional campaigns for businesses to join, including a planned photo scavenger hunt that will ask patrons to visit a series of stores to take a picture of specific items in order to receive a coupon or free gift.
One suggestion for the give-away item was a roll of toilet paper, “to make a little light of the situation,” said Holder.
The temporary take-out parking signs will remain in use until the social distancing mandates are lifted. New promotional campaigns and continued encouragement of residents to use restaurant take-out and delivery services will expand to small office groups who can order lunch to go.
“We are setting the example at City Hall with several departments working on systems to pool funds together to order lunch at least once per week. We are encouraging other offices and businesses to try to do the same,” Sabel said.
“We are all in this together. We will get through it together. GP cares. GP thrives. Live Rogue,” said Sabel.