By ANYSSA BOHANAN
CENTRAL OREGON DAILY NEWS
Gov. Kate Brown announced Thursday that she won’t approve any plans to reopen for at least a week.
“The noticeable increase in COVID-19 infections over the past week are certainly cause for concern,” Brown said.
But local officials say the announcement will have no real, direct impact on Central Oregon.
With Deschutes County already in Phase 2, Bend City Manager Eric King says nothing will change.
“There really hasn’t been any criteria that would take us back,” King said.
However, there are concerns about an influx of tourists bringing the novel coronavirus to central Oregon.
King says that, while people will inevitably come to visit, overall tourism is down with hotel occupancy over Memorial Day weekend at 65%, down 30% from this time last year.
“There isn’t much happening this summer with concerts and events and other things, so some of those main attractions that would draw folks to this area are just not there,” King said.
Deschutes county is working on its own plans to educate tourists.
“Right now, we’re working on getting more signage up to welcome our visitors with the fact that they may not be in their home, but they’re in our home and please, use your best judgment,” Deschutes County Commissioner Patti Adair said.
But the big fear may lie with business owner worried we could go back to phase one.
“They’re worried because they have three months of income to make up,” said Katy Brooks, CEO of the Bend Chamber of Commerce. “Not every one of them got a federal or state loan. If we have to go backwards that far someday would just be a bad day.”
Bend Mayor Sally Russell is urging residents to support local businesses and use caution to help us remain in Phase 2.
“It’s important as you go into different kinds of businesses to take your face coverings,” Russell said. “That’s going to be the only way that we stay open in Phase II. We’re going to stay open in Phase II, let’s make sure we do.”