A World of Good: Destinations Respond to COVID-19

The COVID-19 crisis is bringing out the best in destinations — and the people in them. As the global fight to contain the pandemic continues, companies are shifting production priorities to make personal protective equipment (PPE), cities are propping up local businesses and the people who work for them, and CVBs are creating moving videos about how unity will keep us strong until we can meet again. As Hawaii says in its Share Aloha video above, “Now is the time to pull together, even if it’s from afar.” Here are examples of how that’s being done. Canadians coined a word, caremongering, to describe the acts of kindness sparked by the pandemic. Starting, according to the BBC, as a way to help vulnerable people in Toronto, caremongering has become a national movement. In Italy, fashion houses including Prada switched from churning out couture to making PPEs, a step taken by other industry heavyweights across Europe including H&M, Inditex (Zara’s parent company), and French luxury brand Yves Saint Laurent, CNN reported. By mid-March, Columbus, Ohio–based L Brands, the parent company of Bath & Body Works, Victoria’s Secret, and Pink, had suspended all e-commerce operations for Victoria’s Secret and Pink so it could make soaps and sanitizers from Bath & Body Works a priority, according to Experience Columbus. It has donated more than 500,000 bottles of soap to first responders and nonprofits through The Columbus Foundation. Visit Scotland reminds the world that absence makes the heart grow fonder as it shares a message of hope in the video below. In Abu Dhabi, Ma’an, the Authority of Social Contribution, is using funds contributed to its “Together We Are Good” program to help families and individuals with education, food supplies, health support, and basic needs amid the pandemic, the Khaleej Times Ottawa’s Economic Partners Task Force (newly formed to help support businesses affected by COVID-19) launched Buy Local to support local businesses by encouraging residents to purchase items and gift cards online, order takeout, and support firms on social media. Also, across Canada, Wednesdays are #TakeOutDay, with residents encouraged, if they are able, to support local businesses. In China, the government says it provided aid to 89 countries in Asia, Europe, Africa, the Americas, and the South Pacific — and four international organizations — to battle the COVID-19 outbreak, according to Visit Beijing, which also said the country sent medical experts to Iran, Iraq, Italy, Serbia, and Cambodia to help them fight the virus. In a video (below) that celebrates the warmth of the Midwest, Visit Omaha says “this is just the intermission; the show will go on.” Fáilte Ireland has created a COVID-19 Business Supports Hub to provide tourism and hospitality businesses with webinars and expert advice and a wellbeing support page that includes information on free counseling and financial advice to help tourism businesses, their employees, and those who have lost their jobs. Visit Indy sold T-shirts online for $10 (they sold out) with 100 percent of the proceeds divided between the

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The COVID-19 crisis is bringing out the best in destinations — and the people in them. As the global fight to contain the pandemic continues, companies are shifting production priorities to make personal protective equipment (PPE), cities are propping up local businesses and the people who work for them, and CVBs are creating moving videos about how unity will keep us strong until we can meet again. As Hawaii says in its Share Aloha video above, “Now is the time to pull together, even if it’s from afar.” Here are examples of how that’s being done.

  • Canadians coined a word, caremongering, to describe the acts of kindness sparked by the pandemic. Starting, according to the BBC, as a way to help vulnerable people in Toronto, caremongering has become a national movement.
  • In Italy, fashion houses including Prada switched from churning out couture to making PPEs, a step taken by other industry heavyweights across Europe including H&M, Inditex (Zara’s parent company), and French luxury brand Yves Saint Laurent, CNN reported.
  • By mid-March, Columbus, Ohio–based L Brands, the parent company of Bath & Body Works, Victoria’s Secret, and Pink, had suspended all e-commerce operations for Victoria’s Secret and Pink so it could make soaps and sanitizers from Bath & Body Works a priority, according to Experience Columbus. It has donated more than 500,000 bottles of soap to first responders and nonprofits through The Columbus Foundation.
  • Visit Scotland reminds the world that absence makes the heart grow fonder as it shares a message of hope in the video below.
  • In Abu Dhabi, Ma’an, the Authority of Social Contribution, is using funds contributed to its “Together We Are Good” program to help families and individuals with education, food supplies, health support, and basic needs amid the pandemic, the Khaleej Times
  • Ottawa’s Economic Partners Task Force (newly formed to help support businesses affected by COVID-19) launched Buy Local to support local businesses by encouraging residents to purchase items and gift cards online, order takeout, and support firms on social media. Also, across Canada, Wednesdays are #TakeOutDay, with residents encouraged, if they are able, to support local businesses.
  • In China, the government says it provided aid to 89 countries in Asia, Europe, Africa, the Americas, and the South Pacific — and four international organizations — to battle the COVID-19 outbreak, according to Visit Beijing, which also said the country sent medical experts to Iran, Iraq, Italy, Serbia, and Cambodia to help them fight the virus.
  • In a video (below) that celebrates the warmth of the Midwest, Visit Omaha says “this is just the intermission; the show will go on.”
  • Fáilte Ireland has created a COVID-19 Business Supports Hub to provide tourism and hospitality businesses with webinars and expert advice and a wellbeing support page that includes information on free counseling and financial advice to help tourism businesses, their employees, and those who have lost their jobs.
  • Visit Indy sold T-shirts online for $10 (they sold out) with 100 percent of the proceeds divided between the United Way of Central Indiana COVID-19 Community Economic Relief Fund and the Indy Arts and Culture COVID-19 Emergency Relief Fund, WISH-TV
  • Restaurant workers, McGill University law students, and nonprofit experts are heading the Montreal Restaurant Workers Relief Fund, which is providing emergency economic assistance to restaurant employees facing hardships because of bar and restaurant closures, according to Tourisme Montréal.
  • Visit California has created a webpage called “Californians Doing Good” to showcase how “business owners, destination stewards, and residents are rising up to provide relief to their fellow industry members and communities in any way possible.”
  • With a #WeGotThisSeattle message, the Downtown Seattle Association shares what social distancing — and hope — look like.
  • VISIT DENVER, the Boulder Convention & Visitors Bureau, Eat Denver, and the Colorado Restaurant Association have jointly created ToGoDenver.com, a free resource for Denver and Boulder restaurants that are open for takeout and/or delivery during the cities’ current dine-in shut down.
  • Toronto-based BlueDot, a software company that was among the first platforms to detect signs of the COVID‑19 outbreak, is using mobile phone data to assist governments in their response to the pandemic, according to a report from Bloomberg.
  • The Greater Philadelphia Hotel Association — in conjunction with partners including the Philadelphia Convention and Visitors Bureau Foundation, Pennsylvania Convention Center, and Visit Philadelphia — is raising funds for displaced hotel workers. The Hospitality Workers Relief Fund aims to raise $560,000 and already has hit $450,000.
  • Curbside delivery, and the way it’s feeding a city that can’t gather to dine out, is in the spotlight in a video from Visit Fort Worth. (See video below.)
  • Australian supermarket company Coles is donating $1 million worth of food to vulnerable Australians amid the coronavirus outbreak, local media reported.
  • The Miami Pandemic Response Fund, which is a supported by the Greater Miami Convention and Visitors Bureau and the Greater Miami and The Beaches Hotel Association, is helping hospitality workers and their families with food, supplies, utilities, rent/mortgage assistance, and microgrants.
  • In Anaheim, efforts to help those in need range from the Honda Center’s drive-thru food bank to local restaurants’ distributing meals to children, Visit Anaheim reports.
  • Ad agency Doner, which has its headquarters in Detroit, captures what it’s like when the motor stops in “the city built on four wheels” and promises a return “on all eight cylinders.”
  • Canada Goose, known for its distinctive down-filled parkas, is retooling manufacturing facilities, including in Winnipeg, to make PPE for health-care workers, Global News reported.
  • In Dallas, American Leather Hospitality (which is usually making furniture for the hotel/hospitality industry) is producing medical face masks and gowns, Furniture, Lighting & Decor reported.
  • In Australia, volunteers from 18 Muslim organizations are providing warm meals to health-care workers at Canterbury Hospital in Sydney and dropping off food to the elderly, vulnerable, and those in isolation across the country, the Daily Mail reported.
  • Meet AC — Atlantic City, New Jersey — reminds us that the world is #StrongerTogether in the video below that spotlights the destination’s seaside vistas.
  • Battelle, an Ohio-based research and development organization, has come up with a way to decontaminate N95 masks. The technology is already in use in Columbus with additional equipment being sent to New York, Seattle, Chicago, and Washington, D.C., Experience Columbus said.
  • A Syrian refugee couple in Sao Paulo, Brazil — the municipality with the nation’s highest number of COVID-19 cases — is delivering lunches to the city’s elderly residents via their food delivery company, according to a United Nations website.
  • Some 20 companies in Switzerland held a countrywide hackathon early in April to develop “functional digital or analogue prototypes to counter the virus with tangible solutions.”
  • VISITMilwaukee in the video below recalls all the positive things that COVID-19 has been unable to change.
  • In Singapore, The Biofactory, a biomedical incubator, and Singapore General Hospital created a foldable screen that permits health-care workers to do swab tests safely and twice as quickly, Channel News Asia reported.
  • In Chicago, the Cubs have turned Wrigley Field into a food-packing and distribution center for COVID-19 relief, local media reported.
  • In Quebec, Liverpool, and New York,  Bauer employees have shifted from hockey face masks to PPEs. The company says it plans to manufacture and deliver 2.25 million medical face shields by the end of May.
  • Discover Puerto Rico has created a few inspirational videos called “All in Good Time,” conveying that while now we must stay home and safe, better times are on the horizon.
  • Visit Tampa Bay’s video (below) illustrates how the sun — and hope — continue to shine.

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