BY TED TAYLOR
CENTRAL OREGON DAILY NEWS
As more popular recreation areas and resorts reopen in Central Oregon, the City of Bend on Wednesday night reiterated its request to potential visitors: Stay away.
Bend City Manager Eric King extended the local state of emergency and administrative order discouraging travel to Bend over the holiday weekend and at least through the first week of June.
“Extending the state of emergency and the travel order helps us support the health and safety of our community as we begin the phased process of reopening,” King said.
Gov. Kate Brown last week announced many Oregon counties could begin Phase I of reopening on May 15th. That meant restaurants, bars, barbershops, salons and other retail businesses could reopen if they were able to meet strict social media guidelines among other restrictions.
The extended order discourages travel and related activities in Bend through the completion of Phase I, which would be June 5th at the earliest.
The May 15th date also marked the end of Deschutes County’s temporary ban on short-term lodging, which opened the doors of several popular resort communities in the region including Sunriver, Tetherow, Eagle Crest and Black Butte Ranch.
On Thursday, Gov. Kate Brown was joined by a bipartisan group of mayors from across the state today in urging Oregonians to stay close to home, and to support local businesses and communities.
“Together we are asking all Oregonians to please keep it local this Memorial Day. Be good neighbors this weekend––stay local and stay safe.
“If you love the coast, stay home for now and plan your trip in the summer. If you love the Columbia Gorge, keep it local this weekend and visit later on. If you love Central Oregon, it’ll still be there in a few weeks” Brown said.
“This Memorial Day weekend, a backyard barbecue or a small family gathering is the best way to stay healthy as we build a safe and strong Oregon,” she said. “If you want to get outdoors, find a place to hike or bike or paddle close to home. And, please, wear a face covering when you are around others.”
Under King’s order:
- Travel away from home for recreational or vacation purposes is strongly discouraged and should be avoided.
- All stays at temporary lodging facilities in Bend are highly discouraged, unless for reasons of health, safety or employment.
- Operators of temporary lodging in Bend are strongly requested to refrain from booking any new reservations for tourist or vacation travel.
This order does not apply to reservations for stays longer than 30 days or residential stays of any length for people without permanent homes who are staying at a lodging facility through a voucher or other program, according to the city.
The declaration of a local state of emergency allows for temporary emergency policies related to procurement practices, facility closures, employee teleworking and public meeting protocols. It also says:
- The City won’t shut off water for non-payment of unpaid water bills during Phase I of reopening, and potentially into Phase II.
- Permitted special events are not allowed through Phase II, except for farmer’s markets on public property (exempt from the Governor’s order).
- The City has flexibility to allow additional space on sidewalks, parking areas or streets for eligible business operations to meet COVID-19 public health guidelines, provide a safer environment for customers and employees, and to stimulate the recovery and support of local businesses.
It was extended through Phase II of the Governor’s Reopening Oregon plan (which explains phasing).