What’s Up With Wine Down

Thank you! Thank you for your steadfast support, patience, and understanding as we navigate this new normal. As many of our readers and followers know, our events are how we fund much of the work that we do. Planning events during a typical year comes with its own set of challenges, but planning events in the time of COVID requires us all to operate with heightened levels of flexibility and caution. We hope it brings you peace of mind to know that we are making every effort to ensure fun and safe events in downtown Laurel. So without further ado…

Welcome Back to Wine Down!

We are thrilled to be able to welcome you back to downtown Laurel on Friday, July 17 for Wine Down Downtown. A few things about the event have changed in an effort to minimize contact touch points, but we know you’ll still enjoy this evening in The City Beautiful!

Some things have not changed

Retailers will still offer wine tastings, equivalent to about a 2 oz. pour. Each store serving wine will have a different type for you to taste. There are also stores that will be open for extended shopping hours, but will serve non-alcoholic beverages instead. If you want to participate in the wine tasting, you must purchase a $15 wine tumbler at the Laurel Main Street tent or online. The Laurel Main Street tent will be located at the corner of Central Ave. and Magnolia St., outside of Rasberry Financial, and serves as the “gate.” Your tumbler will serve as your “ticket.” Wine will not be poured into any other container.

We will still check IDs. All attendees will be asked to present identification with proof of age.

There will also be live music in Trustmark Art Park, located on the corner of Oak St. and Magnolia St., and multiple other venues downtown.

So what’s new?

We highly encourage you to purchase your wine tumbler online. Tumblers purchased online will be available for pick up beginning at 5:00 p.m. on Friday, July 17 at the Laurel Main Street tent on the corner of Magnolia St. and Central Ave. To purchase tumblers online, click here.

If you are unable to purchase your tumbler in advance, we ask that you bring exact change. In an effort to minimize interactions, we will not have change on-site. If you do not have exact change, we ask that you consider donating your payment overage to Laurel Main Street.

When verifying your age, our volunteers will not touch IDs. You will be asked to show it to them instead.

We ask that you respect social distancing guidelines and stay six feet away from those not living in your household. There will be markings on the street to help.

All Laurel Main Street volunteers will be wearing masks. There will also be hand sanitizer available at the LMS tent as well as at hand sanitizing stations throughout downtown. Our retailers have been encouraged to host sidewalk sales and pour wine tastings outside to encourage social distancing and minimize crowds in stores.

All are welcome downtown! If you do not drink wine, we hope you will still #getdowntown and enjoy an evening of live music and shopping with the merchants of Laurel Main Street!

 

Won’t You Be My (Good) Neighbor?

These are the days we look forward to all year long — welcoming tourists from near and far to downtown Laurel and playing license plate bingo as we drive down Central Avenue. We are thrilled to be able to open our downtown to visitors once again. Covid-19 still posts a significant threat to our community, but Laurel Main Street, its members, and partners are doing everything we can to keep our community safe and healthy, both physically and economically. We need your help to keep it that way.

Be a Good Neighbor

Wash

We’re sure you’re familiar with the recommendations to wash your hands for 20 seconds or sanitize your hands before you eat, you may not realize that there are hand sanitizing stations in and around retail stores downtown. Laurel Main Street has also provided hand sanitizer to its members. We encourage you to use hand sanitizer or good old soap and water after touching doors, handling money, and before eating.

Protect

While we can’t demand that you wear masks in public any more than we can demand you wear clothes, we do think it’s a nice thing to do. Laurel Main Street provided masks to members and has encouraged business owners and their employees to continue wearing masks while serving the public. The city of Laurel has also requested the use of masks in the following manner:

• All employees of essential businesses and all employees of nonessential businesses shall wear a mask when working in or moving about the same workspace as other employees or working in or moving about the same room as the public.

• All customers age 12 or over shall wear a mask while inside an essential or nonessential retail establishment.

• For purposes of this Order, “mask” shall be defined as any face covering; including, but not limited to, fabric masks, homemade linen or cloth masks, household dust masks, handkerchief, scarf, surgical mask, KN95 mask or N95 mask.

• This Order shall not apply to customers who have trouble breathing or are unconscious, incapacitated or otherwise unable to remove the mask without assistance; anyone with a disability; or anyone with a medical condition for whom wearing a mask is not recommended by their healthcare professional.

• Retail establishments are encouraged to post notice of the requirement for customers to wear masks at each public entrance of the store and to provide reasonable oversight of their customers to ensure compliance.

The order goes into effect June 17, 2020 at 8 a.m. and ends July 1, 2020 at 8 a.m.

To read the entire mask order, click here. Remember, we wear our masks to protect you, our neighbors and welcome guests. Please do the same for us.

You might notice that some retail stores and restaurants are limiting the number of people allowed inside at one time or even requesting contactless payment options. We hope you’ll be respectful and understanding of the requests of business owners.

Clean

Please discard disposable gloves, masks, etc. in trash receptacles. Garbage bins can be found throughout the walkable downtown area and in our parks. We take great pride in The City Beautiful and hope you’ll help us keep it clean for others to enjoy as well.

Be Our Guest

We want our community to thrive, for businesses to stay open, and for employees to stay healthy. Keeping a lid on COVID helps us all! We understand that our requests may require you to make adjustments to your plans. We hope you’ll still visit our town and support our local economy. We look forward to seeing your smiling eyes and greeting you from a safe distance!

Resources for Small Business Owners

To our dear business owners, Main Street supporters, members, and partners:

We understand that these are uncertain times and uncharted waters. We are working to compile a list of resources that may be beneficial to you and your business. If you have not already, please join the Laurel Main Street Members Facebook Group. We are sharing information there as quickly as we receive it. Additionally, we are listing resources here, on our blog, in the hopes that you’ll be able to find the information that is most helpful to you, all in one place. Laurel has always been a city known for its tenacity, and this time will be no different.

We Are Laurel!

For information about the coronavirus (COVID-19), please visit the following government public health organization websites:

For resources related to small business, please visit the following websites:

Mississippi Power Project Share & Community Connection

Mississippi Power, through its Foundation, has announced a $350,000 commitment to assist South Mississippi residents, local charities and small businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The $350,000 will be dispersed via Mississippi Power’s Project Share and Community Connection programs:

·         $200,000 for Small Businesses – Businesses with 50 employees or less are eligible for this new Project Share program distributed through Catholic Charities.

·         $100,000 for Project Share – Distributed through Catholic Charities. Any Mississippi Power customer with a demonstrated financial need may be eligible to apply for Project SHARE by simply calling 1-855-847-0555.

·         $50,000 for Local Charities – Food banks, non-violence and youth shelters, and other agencies that count on Community Connection donations to operate, especially during a crisis.

We suggest that you call Catholic Charities at 1-855-847-0555 for more information or to apply. 

Help for Live Event Cancellations

If you feel led to assist in efforts to support members of our community who have been impacted through the cancellation of live events, here is sample language to send when writing or emailing elected officials.

Sample letter to Congress:

Subject: Protect Live Events Small Businesses
Dear Representative [NAME], 

As you consider relief legislation to assist Americans in responding to COVID-19, I am writing to urge you to include resources to assist those of us for whom congregating in large gatherings is actually our living. 

I work in the live events industry and we have seen our revenues dry up virtually overnight. I know we all have to do our part to fight this pandemic and that stopping large gatherings through social distancing is our best approach. My hope is that the assistance you are developing provides fast, substantial, and easily accessible aid for small businesses like mine.

Thank you for considering my request, and thank you for all you are doing to help us get back on our feet after this crisis.

Sincerely,

[CREATOR NAME], [TITLE]
[BUSINESS NAME]
[BUSINESS ADDRESS]

Reminders