2019 Loudoun State of the County | Beth Erickson

Visit Loudoun President & CEO Beth Erickson stands after being applauded for her work in tourism at the 2019 State of the County address in Leesburg.

Committing to the best health and safety practices, more than 350 local businesses and people have taken the “Loudoun Is Ready” pledge after local leaders launched the campaign last week.

The aim of the pledge is to promote the best health and safety practices for customers as Loudoun County's economy enters COVID-19 recovery, according to leaders from Loudoun Economic Development, Visit Loudoun and the Loudoun Chamber of Commerce.

“Opening up businesses is never going to be enough,” said Buddy Rizer, executive director for Loudoun Economic Development. “You have to get customers to come back and customers are not going to come back until they feel confident that they can safely return to their lives, by and large.”

Businesses receive no-cost marketing exposure and resources from the partnership between the three economic groups. The resources include "Loudoun Is Ready" window stickers, campaign buttons and social distancing floor markers. Participants also receive emails on the latest in health and safety standards and marketing features in the "Take Loudoun Home" campaign.

Beth Erickson, president and CEO for Visit Loudoun, said research has shown visitors are looking for destinations that have thoughtfully reopened their businesses and are committed to ensuring personal and employee safety.

“...This is important, and we want to make sure that we get it right,” Erickson said.

Tony Howard, president and CEO of the Loudoun Chamber of Commerce, said parts of the region have provided recovery recommendations and suggestions for businesses. However, he said the “Loudoun Is Ready” pledge is bringing added resources to help every individual business and nonprofit. Howard said the partnership is one way his organization is helping support local businesses that have sacrificed and ailed during the pandemic.

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"We think that they've really gone above and beyond to [slow] the spread of this virus in our community, and even endured some real pain in their workforce and some human pain and suffering,” Howard said. “This is a way of actually doing right by them in the long run, because they were there for this community when they would need it.”

Last week, U.S. Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.) said during a conference call with tourism leaders that promoting consumer confidence is key. The senator said the loan programs for small businesses have been helpful, but he conceded adjustments should be considered, including to the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP). Kaine said some of the requests have been to extend the length of time monies can be used and to adjust how to spend money for payroll expenses.

Kaine said nearly 100,000 Virginia businesses and nonprofits received PPP loans totaling more than $12 billion as of late last week.

Another subject Kaine discussed is how air travel has also taken a hit due to the pandemic. Concession sales at Dulles International Airport are doing 3 percent of business compared to last year, an airport representative said on the conference call.

“We won't get the economy back to where we want it except for dealing with the public health emergency as well as we can,” Kaine said.

He echoed Erickson's statement that people having the confidence to travel and to get out into the community will be key to the economy rebounding.

Loudoun County Board of Supervisors Chairwoman Phyllis Randall (D-At Large) supports the “Loudoun Is Ready” initiative, and she said her goal for Loudoun is to remain open without having to take a step back.

“ … the goal is to remain open and walk through the phases and never have to close again,” Randall said. “What we want to do is make sure that we are helping our businesses prepare, and we are messaging our citizens that the businesses are ready to accept them back. It's not enough to just open the business. We have to also make sure that that customers are ready to come back.”

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(16) comments

Guest

This county BOS and Ralph clown boy Northampton are two of the biggest jokes in the country. You can’t open your business, go to work or church but you can get out in the streets and protest cheek you cheek and it’s fine. I hope people in Loudoun remember this when it comes tome to vote.

Fiscalconservative

Rather than convincing us, the citizens of Loudoun County, these groups should focus on convincing Northam to open up. Unless he gives the okay, you are wasting your time and money!!!!

David Dickinson

Until you drop the useless mask wearing requirement, I will be spending my money in the far more sensible state of West Virginia ( I never thought I'd say that), which is only minutes away from anywhere in Loudoun.

Voltaire

David Dickinson--West Virginia thanks you for your patronage.

jke

Voltaire quit dumping your political trash in Virginia.

Voltaire

Really? You going to make me jke? I don't think so. As I have said before, I have the right to opine just like you. That is what makes America great. Get over it.

Voltaire

Jke--how is what I said considered to be "political trash"? David Dickinson stated that he would go to WV and spend his money there. I replied that WV thanks him for visiting and spending money. Not really seeing the correlation between "political trash" and the statements as presented.

Guest

All businesses should just open up and say they are protesting systemic racism. I'm sure they'd get a pass.

hardworkingamerican

These losers especially Tim Kaine no nothing. Only the selected businesses have received anything. Sole proprietors of which there are so many have been screwed. Let's get real Loudoun. Liberal policies that were spawned in the 60s by Johnson to "end poverty" have done nothing in a half a century. So long as one liberal remains in office this country is under a threat. Governor "Coonman" and all the liberal liars and leakers cheer protests that damage more businesses where people are packed shoulder to shoulder screaming and spitting on each other, but if you open your business you will go to jail or be fined or have your licenses revoked. One thing is for sure. Loudoun is lost unless we remove every Democrap.

ace10

The (D) politicians who were at the Covid-paloosa last Sunday don't care about Loudouners. And they certainly don't care about Loudoun businesses.

SocialistAmerican

They care about human lives. Not dollars. So yes, you are correct. People come first. Then businesses.

ace10

Do they really? Ignoring social distancing? Ignoring public health guidelines? Got it. I guess grandma is safe now. Thankfully it's not Thursday of last week, else she'd be a goner.

Guest

That’s funny

Fiscalconservative

If they cared about human life they would be stopping all these protests. How is it we can go to places of worship, can't have graduations and yet protest with more than ten people, no social distancing and limited PPE are allowed? For once can the rules be applied to everyone, not a select few that the government chooses?

Guest

Lee Carter in the house

Fluff

Loudoun's economic development program is a real waste of tax dollars. Indiscriminate promotion of any and all businesses...how is that different from no promotion of any business? Yes, it pays the salaries of the people working in those slots but beyond that how is progress measured? How are we supposed to evaluate if we're getting our money's worth from this program? Because business revenue rises? That's not necessarily related to the government program at all.

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