As Vermont businesses return to work, local businesses are working hard to adapt to doing business under radically different conditions.
Eric Friedman, executive director of the Mad River Valley Chamber of Commerce, said local businesses have stepped up in innovative ways.
“It’s been interesting to see how different businesses have altered what they’re doing. That’s been impressive. Businesses like Toast and Eggs quickly reinvented themselves. The Round Barn pivoted to takeout. Three Mountain Cafe is doing pop-up pastries,” Friedman said.
(Three Mountain Cafe has reopened with service from 8 to 11 a.m. this week and service from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. starting Tuesday, May 12. The café will be open Tuesday through Saturday.)
“There’s going to be a lot of adapting going forward,” he added.
By way of example, he said that restaurateurs are starting to think of how they’re going to change their standard operating procedures. They may not have menus. People may use apps for ordering and for paying to minimize points of contact. Salt and pepper shakers and tables will need to be sanitized between each round of service.
“It’s going to add a whole new dimension. I think people are looking down the line and realizing that the landscape is changing and has changed dramatically and are not sure what that’s going to be, whether that means using ion sanitizers or other ways to disinfect,” Friedman said.
Friedman feels confident that there is a pent-up demand for tourism even though it will be one of the last things to come back.
“We need to be prepared for that. The advantage we have is that this community has such a strong second-home owner base. That will help us ease back into a more normal environment so we’re not dependent on just visitors. That will help get the word out that this is a safe place to go,” he pointed out.
Given the innovative and creative people in The Valley, Friedman said that the community can be on the cutting edge of safety and combine that message with the fact that there are so many recreational opportunities and open space here to make visitors feel comfortable.