As San Luis Obispo County’s hospitality industry reopens, Travel Paso wants locals to know that businesses in the Paso Robles area are ready to serve them.
On June 18, Travel Paso issued a press release reminding the community that it’s a place where people dream of vacationing, and the city’s attractions, including restaurants and wineries, are once again open for service.
“For now, Paso is for SLOcals and returning visitors. That means—no matter what side of The Grade you live—there has never been a better time to explore and rediscover your bountiful backyard of wine, cowboys, and ancient oaks,” the press release stated.
Initially, the organization wants to focus its marketing efforts locally, Travel Paso Executive Director Stacie Jacob said.
“First and foremost, Paso wants to do its part in battling COVID-19. We are still in the throes of a pandemic,” Jacob said. “It’s important that our tourism ecosystem operate under the new conditions.”
The message, she said, is also a way to spark a positive and safe revival of the local economy in Paso Robles.
“One in five jobs in Paso Robles is tourism-related. Normally, nearly 2 million tourists visit Paso Robles each year, generating more than $15 million in direct tax revenues for our local community services,” Jacob said. “While visiting, tourists spend more than $355 million each year, supporting local businesses owned and staffed by our neighbors.”
As part of the safe reopening efforts, Paso’s Downtown City Park officially opened for dine-in services outdoors. Through Labor Day guests can reserve one of the many private farmhouse style tables in the park’s shaded dining section to order food from a participating restaurant.
There, Jacob said, guests will be met by a concierge who will guide them to their own sanitized table. The private seating is available for reservation Thursday through Sunday beginning at 5:30 p.m. Reservations can be made through Yelp by searching for “Downtown City Park.”
On the first weekend of the reservation program, Jacob said it accommodated nearly 500 diners.
“The success of the dining section goes back to our already solid foundation of collaboration in our community,” she said. “So many people came together to make it happen—Travel Paso, the Paso Robles Chamber of Commerce, the Paso Robles Wine Country Alliance, Main Street Association, the city of Paso Robles, and our amazing vendor team: Cru Hospitality, All About Events, Red Oak Security, and the Fence Factory.”
In an effort to provide more outdoor seating options, the city has placed additional public picnic tables in the park area and some businesses will soon have parklets.
Jacob said it’s been amazing to see how hard businesses have been working to open safely.
“It’s no small feat to comply with the state and county rules—and in effect completely change how you conduct your daily business,” she said. “Several have adjusted their hours to pivot with the new standards.”
The city of San Luis Obispo is exploring a similar outdoor dining program in the Mission area, Jacob said.
“It’s collaborative, creative problem solving like this that will be key to our county’s recovery and we are off to a great restart,” she said. ∆