Bend City Manager Eric King has extended his administrative order “highly” discouraging vacation travel here to reduce the spread of COVID-19 and, ultimately, help local students return to the classroom sooner rather than later.
The order, which initially went into effect in March and was extended in May and July, asks hoteliers and other lodging partners to “strongly refrain” from booking new rooms to tourists.
The restrictions remain in effect until October 26th – the earliest date Bend-La Pine Schools has said K-3 students could return if Deschutes County COVID metrics are met.
“The City believes that discouragement of non-essential travel and voluntary compliance continues to be a tool that is useful and available locally,” according to the order. “Data shows that the policy is having an effect (decreased booking numbers), and the City is committed to doing what it can to allow schools to open safely at the earliest reasonable opportunity.”
Lodging numbers might be down from previous years, but as we reported in July, several local hotel operators were more than willing to book rooms this summer despite the requested restrictions.
And anecdotal evidence from short-term lodging owners around the area indicates their rooms and homes have been and are booked solid for months.
Locally, COVID cases are dropping.
Deschutes County has reported five straight weeks of declining numbers. The 20 cases reported last week were the fewest since late June.
Overall, Deschutes County has reported 693 COVID cases and 11 deaths. More than 580 patients have recovered.