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Hotels in Goleta are opening their doors to people working remotely.
Amid the shelter-in-place order related to the coronavirus/COVID-19 pandemic, hotels are suffering, and many employees are not allowed to work in the office unless it is regarded as an essential service.
The hotels are offering rooms that come with a desk, free WiFi and other business services.
“We are located in the Goleta high-tech area,” said Patricia Kimball, director of sales for the Hilton Garden Inn. “We have been hearing some feedback that they have challenges with WiFi or VPN or connectivity, or a lot of people don’t have desks or space in their homes.”
The Hilton Garden Inn, 6878 Hollister Ave., has guest rooms including work space, high-speed Internet and Keurig coffee services for $80 a day plus taxes. It also has event spaces for $50 per day plus tax. Prices are valid for an eight-hour work day. The 24 marketplace offers snacks and beverages for purchase
“We are just trying to be part of the community and stay afloat and give employees an opportunity to work,” Kimball said.
At the Hampton Inn, 5665 Hollister Ave., General Manager Christine Heinrich said that “a lot of people are hurting right now.”
She said a lot of people are in flux, but the hotel wants to help people while also trying to bring business to the hotel. The rooms give people their own space to get work done.
She said no advance notice is needed, and people can just walk in if they need a room for the day or night.
“We are very flexible with the hours,” Heinrich said.
The Hampton Inn has guest rooms available for $65, and a half-day rate for five hours anytime between 7 a.m. and 6 p.m. for $45. The hotel has one board room available for full day use for $50 a day.
The Goleta Valley Chamber of Commerce is overseeing the program.
NOMAD Changes Operations
Santa Barbara-based company NOMAD is reprioritizing its operations to provide medical supplies, such as face masks, to help battle the coronavirus.
“In the past few weeks, normalcy has been disrupted on a global scale,” company founders Noah Dentzel and Brian Hahn said. “Right now, we believe the single best thing we can do is to assist in the distribution of much-needed supplies around the world to aid those on the front lines of flattening the curve: nurses, doctors and first responders.”
The company designs products in Santa Barbara, manufactures them in China and ships them from its warehouse in Hong Kong to more than 100 countries worldwide.
“We’ve been able to work with our manufacturing partners that have the capability to make PPE masks but lie outside the conventional medical supply chain,” the founders wrote. “Our phone case supplier has already switched from making bags and wallets to surgical masks for the Chinese medical system. But, as the disease slows in China, they now have excess capacity and a desire to help others who may be in short supply.”
They said they can ship masks and other needed medical supplies anywhere in the world in two to three days.
“Our factories in China also benefited from early effective prevention measures, so they can manufacture what is most needed right now, rather than their standard goods,” they said.
Quokka Kitchen Delivery
A Santa Barbara-based meal delivery service named after the “happiest animal on Earth” has seen its customer base grow during the statewide stay-at-home order.
Quokka Kitchen, started in November by Laguna Blanca graduates Kevin Lunn and Hunter Rusack and Cate School graduate Julian Martinez, prepares fresh, packaged meals and delivers them to clients’ doors.
The trio named their business after the quokka, a cuddly cat-sized marsupial found in western Australia that appears to be perpetually smiling, thus earning it “happiest animal on Earth” moniker.
“We were inspired by them because they have very strict diets,” Lunn said. “We liked how fun they were, and also we wanted to make sure that we’re cooking Quokka meals that were entirely clean and devoid of any junk ingredients. So we went with that (name).”
The ready-to-eat meals need just to be heated in a microwave or oven. Or, they can be stored in a freezer for up to five days in order to maintain freshness.
Quokka Kitchen offers three weekly plans: five lunches or dinners for $100 a week; 10 lunches or dinners for $200; and 10 lunches or dinners plus five breakfasts per week for $275. There are no beverages included.
— Noozhawk staff writer Barry Punzal contributed to this report.