Charting the course for responsible reopening

Reopening our communities proved much more complex than shutting them down.

REACH partnered with both SLO and Santa Barbara Counties in proactively charting a course to responsibly reopen our communities under a tight timelines.

REACH served as the project manager for SLO County’s START guide, a roadmap for re-entry assembled by a team of medical, business and academic experts and overseen by a panel of elected officials.

Our involvement allowed the incorporation of large cross-sector engagement under an aggressive timeline, ultimately resulting in input from more than 40 local leaders and 250 stakeholders and the first detailed framework to be released in the state.

Santa Barbara County followed suit, partnering with REACH to develop its 80-page RISE Guide with similar community input. The undertaking engaged more than 350 people in 27 roundtables representing 10 cities and community service districts, 14 business and industry sectors and other community groups.

Excerpts from news coverage of the two planning efforts.

  • “Working with economic development experts at REACH, San Luis Obispo County has published a thoughtful and comprehensive framework for reopening society while protecting public health,” columnist Brian Goebel writes in Noozhawk.
  • The fact that cities in both counties are developing their reopening plans with regional economic development consultant REACH, formerly The Hourglass Project, will help create a more unified reopening response, Santa Maria City Manager Jason Stilwell said in the Santa Maria Times. “It was a good match. We’ve been working with REACH since they started, recognizing that this is a regional challenge. Our challenge is north to the river as much as it is south to the tunnel.”
  • An “unprecedented countywide collaboration of business leaders” came together to create the Santa Barbara guidelines, Noozhawk reported. “I have not seen anything like this in my nearly 20 years, and I am impressed,” Kristen Miller, president and CEO of the Goleta Chamber of Commerce, said. “The process that REACH used to connect business to the county was really good. It felt productive and the businesses felt heard.” Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors Chair Gregg Hart said, “The county’s business reopening guide is a remarkable achievement. … The collaboration, determination and creativity that went into this work is the most important result. That spirit will be what gets us through this crisis.”


News from REACH