By ANYSSA BOHANAN
CENTRAL OREGON DAILY NEWS
Despite the city of Bend’s mask mandate, dozens of people involved in a large, maskless gathering over the weekend aren’t facing any consequences for their actions.”
It’s the second time in two weeks “dance parties” popped up in different parts of town.
One took place in downtown Bend Saturday night. Another allegedly took place outside of Kebaba the following evening.
“I think that people need to just be more aware of when to wear a mask,” said Bend Mayor Sally Russell. “And by wearing a mask you’re protecting everybody in your community.”
Bend Police responded to Saturday’s gathering after receiving a call about a large group of people without masks.
“That came in as a noise complaint call,” said Bend Police Lt. Juli McConkey.
The officer who responded to Saturday’s incident issued no tickets.
“Our first response is to go to the call and educate people and explain what the mandate is,” McConkey said.
Gov. Kate Brown has repeatedly said she wants law enforcement to educate, not issue citations.
According to Bend Police, out of the 11 COVID-related complaint calls they’ve received since July 1st, no one has been cited.
But that doesn’t mean a citation can’t be issued.
“We would hand the mask out, and if they’re refusing and wanting to stay in the area, then a citation would be warranted,” McConkey said.
“If people are really willing to learn and comply, we’ve got to first go down that road,” Russell said.
The community is doing better as a whole with controlling the virus, Russell added, but we have to continue being cautious.
“I think we’re doing okay,” said Russell. “But doing okay means we have to be careful and we have to keep doing a better job.”
McConkey says Bend PD has issued about 1,000 masks when responding to COVID related complaints.