We all might be stuck in place during this crisis, but destinations are finding innovative ways to get people through it. See how these destinations are banding their citizens together.

The city has deployed over 25 handwashing stations around the city, primarily giving homeless citizens a way to clean up and take steps to avoid spreading the coronavirus.

It’s all about supporting local businesses, with a dedicated webpage encouraging denizens who are foodies, families, fitness fans, and fundraisers to remain active in the community. Think of it as the F-words that you can say without ruffling any feathers. The site details the offers, but essentially there are four key takeaways.
- The city encourages taking out food, tipping, and buying gift cards from local vendors.
- It shares entertainment options for families sheltering inside, including live stream events like bingo and science experiments.
- It urges fitness fans to attend virtual yoga and dance classes.
- It implores citizens to fundraise and give back, donating blood, food products, and money to charities citywide.

Take a look at the events listed on Charlotte’s site and let’s chat about how to tell this story now as Charlotte and the rest of the country is rapidly adapting to the coronavirus crisis.

Situated on the Tennessee River in downtown Chattanooga, TN, the Tennessee Aquarium is home to 10000 animals and an IMAX theater. Photo by Cynthia Calvert

ConnectChatt: The Chattanooga Tourism Co. has launched Connect Chatt to bring people together digitally in Chattanooga and across the world who are practicing social distancing. The team will be sharing the community’s virtual experiences through social media using the hashtag #ConnectChatt and online at ChattanoogaFun.com/Connect. The social posts will include a way in which everyone can support Chattanoogans through virtual tipping, buying season passes, ordering takeout, etc. The ConnectChatt virtual experience series kicked off on St. Patrick’s Day with a live performance from Stringer’s Ridge Band, which played Irish tunes from home via Facebook Live. Their virtual tip jar generated about as much as a normal gig, and they played to more than 10,000 people. Yesterday, the Tennessee Aquarium and Ruby Falls gave live tours.

Service Industry donations: A local Chattanoogan created a website to bring a little extra support to the city’s service industry professionals, whose livelihoods are being affected by restaurant closures. The site encourages community members to consider tipping a local service industry worker through Venmo or Cash App. When the site is refreshed it shows a new person to support.

The Mustang Express: Chattanooga Girls Leadership Academy takes student meals on the road amid coronavirus concerns - Chattanooga Girls Leadership Academy, the all-girls public charter school in Hamilton County, has taken student meals on the road. The school, which serves students in grades 6 through 12 from predominantly low-income neighborhoods in Chattanooga, launched the "Mustang Express" Thursday morning as schools across the state find ways to support students and families while they are closed due to COVID-19 concerns. Link to article here.

The Adult Version of An Ice Cream TruckMadtree Brewing Co. is bringing food to the streets of the Queen City to help keep spirits high in the city and assist in feeding all of those who must stay quarantined. Their draft truck will be providing curbside pizza and beer from 11am – 7pm. For an update on times & locations, please click here: https://www.madtreebrewing.com/news/the-beer-truck

Staying Calm with Mindful Music Moments: ArtsWave is launching Mindful Music Moments, a partnership created by the Well in partnership with the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra and Cincinnati Opera. Members of the public can sign up for a free 10-week subscription to Mindful Music Moments, brief daily combinations of meditation and music. Mindful Music Moments is one of more than 100 projects and organizations funded through ArtsWave each year

Karrikin Begins Sanitizer ProductionKarrikin Spirits Company’s master distillers are getting to work to produce sanitizer based on ingredients and recommendations from the World Health Organization. Produced slightly above the recommended alcohol percentage, it’s giving you another weapon against fighting viruses and bacteria. Secondly, if you stop by for a bottle of hand sanitizer, you’re directly supporting the workers, with 100% of proceeds from the sales of hand sanitizer is being used to support this staff that is so vital to our success as a business. Look for an announcement soon on our Facebook and Instagram pages for how and where you can purchase a $3 bottle of Cincinnati.

The LEE Initiative will expand its reach to Cincinnati in partnership with Mita's Restaurant: Starting on March 19th, Mita's Restaurant will transform into a relief center for any restaurant worker who has been laid off or has had a significant reduction in hours and/or pay. With the help of Makers Mark, the restaurant is offering help for those in dire need of food and supplies. Each night, it will pack hundreds of to-go dinners that will be offered to recently unemployed restaurant workers. Dinners are offered on a first come first serve basis. Mita’s is also stocking supplies for those in need: diapers, baby food, non-perishable canned foods and cereals, toilet paper when available, paper towels, notebooks and pencils, aspirin and more. For more information, please click here: https://www.facebook.com/mitascincinnati/

The city is looking to protect its homeless community, which is vulnerable to the disease and its effects. Handwashing stations and shelters are just a few of the initiatives that the city is funding in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak.

Local restaurants are also transforming into corner stores to help feed the population while table service has ceased. Breweries are baking goods and restaurants are rebranding as markets to help locals who would otherwise be waiting in long lines at the supermarkets.

Loudoun County

Scott and Becky Harris at Catoctin Creek Distillery in Loudoun County, Virginia, are working with local authorities to create FDA-approved hand sanitizer. It’s a process that helps local communities, but also keeps their distillery afloat as restaurant orders for their whiskey begin to plummet.

Forget bourbon, Louisville is focusing on hand sanitizer. Rabbit Hole Distillery is one of many spirits manufacturers nationwide who are pivoting from drinks to hand gels, helping to combat the spread of coronavirus while also keeping their employees busy

The United Way launched a fund for families and small businesses hurting from coronavirus, providing them with products and assistance for emergency relief.

While most tourism facilities are closed, it’s a prime moment for professional development for tourism workers. During the coronavirus pandemic, hospitality students and faculty adapt, learn 'to always be prepared'. Find the latest FIU information about the coronavirus on the university's resource page

Two Oakland Hotels will open their doors to house homeless people. While many individuals are sheltering in place, those without shelter are doing the best they can. To help reduce the risk of coronavirus spreading through the homeless population, the city is working with two hotels to offers stays of up to three months, a fantastic way to use tourism facilities that aren’t otherwise being used.

The city of Seattle giving out grocery vouchers to families, up to $800 per family. The distributions will total some 5 million dollars and will help families where parents have lost jobs because of coronavirus closures.

Busch Stadium, also referred to informally as "New Busch Stadium" or "Busch Stadium III", is a baseball park located in St. Louis, Missouri, the home of the St. Louis Cardinals, the city's Major League Baseball (MLB) franchise. Enjoy a 90-minute, fully narrated tour of St. Louis aboard a heated/air-conditioned trolley with bells, brass rails and cushioned seats with St. Louisi Trolley tours. Photo by Cynthia Calvert

For those stuck inside, the St. Louis Zoo has launched stlzootube to let viewers tune in from home and see what’s happening inside the city’s zoo. It’s a great alternative to Netflix! Furthermore, although the Zoo may be closed to the public, its team wants to #BringTheStlZooToYou! Their first priority is the care and well-being of our animals, but when they can, they will be happy to add something fun & positive to your newsfeed! They also did a penguin tour on social media! It’s not just the zoo: St. Louis Aquarium hosted a morning breakfast event with their baby sloth Coconut, so look for more in the future.

Cynthia Calvert
Author: Cynthia CalvertEmail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
A trained journalist with a masters degree from Lamar University, a masters from the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, as well as extensive coursework toward a masters of science in psychology from the University of New Orleans, Calvert founded the Tribune Newspapers in 2007. Her experiences as an investigative, award winning reporter (She won Journalist of the Year from the Houston Press Club among many other awards for reporting and writing), professor and chair of the journalism department for Lone Star College-Kingwood and vice president of editorial for a large group of community weeklies provides her with a triple dose of bankable skills that cover every aspect of the journalism field. Solid reporting. Careful interviews. Respect and curiosity for people and places.

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