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Since March 20th, the Argentine national government declared the mandatory quarantine for the general population with suspension of classes and closing of non-essential businesses. This decision was based on the confirmation of the first coronavirus cases in the national territory and aimed to contain the spread of infections. The wine industry was in the midst of the grape harvest and tourism in Mendoza had just successfully finished the celebrations related to the National Harvest Festival and was preparing everything to welcome thousands of tourists during various long weekends and Easter holidays.
Both public and private institutions of Mendoza advocated for the harvest to continue and the winemaking activity was included among the activities excepted from quarantine with its due precautions and protocols to be followed. Thus, all employees had to be moved safely and with sufficient space between them, using chinstraps, gloves, and sanitizers during the different stages of the harvesting and elaboration processes.
Regarding tourism, hotels, agencies and related services had to close to contribute to the social distancing. Finally, national and provincial borders were also closed and 14-day isolation in specially designated hotels was established for people who came to Mendoza from other parts of the country or from abroad. Interprovincial borders were strictly controlled and only people previously authorized to relocate to their homes could enter. The transit of loads was allowed on the condition that the vehicle left the provincial territory within 24 hours. Some days later, the use of chinstrap was made compulsory when leaving home and especially when interacting with other people, always keeping due distance.
All these measures were preventive to reduce the possibilities of contagion and spread of the disease. At the same time, Mendoza is looking for alternatives that allow to resume activities in the short and medium term, always considering the new world reality.
On the one hand, inter-institutional commissions were created to analyze proposals within the framework of COVIAR (Argentine Wine Corporation). These commissions are: " Public-Private Articulation", "Innovation and Communication" and "Covid-19 Protocols". The commissions are working to outline proposals for protocols to be implemented in productive and tourist activities to reduce the dangers of contracting this disease, as well as to develop new communication and management tools. The Communication Commission prepared a survey focused on the expectations of national tourists when resuming their visits in order to offer products and service options that are attractive to reactivate the wine tourism sector as soon as possible.
EMETUR (Mendoza Tourism Board) summoned all Argentines to make a toast with Malbec to Argentina and the efforts to carry out this quarantine, recording a video and uploading it to social networks. Mendoza is well known for the beauty of its autumn, so EMETUR launched a campaign to awaken the desire to visit Mendoza as soon as this can be done. People were also invited to post images of the Mendoza in autumn on social networks.
On the other hand, ProMendoza, the agency promoting Mendoza's products and services abroad, is generating virtual business meetings so that Mendoza producers can offer their
products to foreign buyers through technological platforms that allow virtual conversation. The samples of the products will be sent in advance to the interested importers. These initiatives go hand in hand with agreements with logistics-commercial hubs already in operation, such as those in Shanghai or Guangzhou (China) or in Antwerp (Belgium); and with new hubs in Santa Catarina (Brazil) and in New York (United States). All these hubs allow having products already in those markets and offer a competitive advantage when promoting the products.
Regarding the domestic market, given the temporary inaction of the HORECA channel (Hotels, Restaurants and Caterings), many wineries are carrying out online promotional actions for selling their wines and offer home delivery possibilities as well as attractive prices. Wine shops also reinforced their communications as sale strategy. Although they could not open to the public -as supermarkets and grocery stores did- they were able to sell online. In these strategies, companies that already operated in the market but did not yet had a great presence took on importance: instant delivery services using motorcycles or bicycles. Currently Ubereats, Pedidos Ya and O Glovo operate in Mendoza. These became allies of small businesses that could not develop their own shipping structure and offered a very useful tool to restaurants and all types of merchants who needed to make shipments from their point of sale to the end customer.
To help linking producers and customers, the Government of Mendoza supported the creation of a web to offer Mendoza products (https://origenmendoza.com/), subsidizing its use for 3 months.
The restaurants saw their on the premises operations suspended, but they were able to offer take away or delivery. To support them and other businesses that were notoriously affected, some initiatives emerged to buy their services "in the future" with some benefits. Some of them started from the companies themselves, posting them on their social networks and sending them to their clients by email. Others went nationwide such as the platforms www.comprafutura.com or www.ayudaunrestaurante.com.ar. There you can buy vouchers to support your favorite places now and use them when possible in the future.
Mendoza – like most cities in the world - is reinventing its commerce and its services, with the conviction that we have a high quality and interesting offer that will make it possible to overcome these adverse circumstances. We know that we are not alone in this challenge and we are proud to belong to the network of the Great Wine Capitals to collaborate between the member cities to strengthen our wine and tourism industries.