Local city officials aim to help some businesses reopen by May 15

Central Oregon cities are watching closely as state and county officials work though the reopening process.

At a virtual press conference Friday morning, county and city leaders from Redmond and Bend discussed how phase one of Gov. Kate Brown’s reopening plan will roll out in their cities.

Each business will make their own decisions on whether to open under the new social distancing and cleaning guidelines outlined by Gov. Brown.

“At this point, each business owner needs to figure out what it looks like to be open,” Commissioner Tony DeBone said. “Is it profitable to open your doors if you’re a small facility and you can’t spread out your table as much? Or a bar with not a lot of space? Each business is going to have to evaluate what it looks like to be open.”

Bend City Manager Eric King said a team is working with public health officials to help businesses reopen.

“We’re looking at our own regulations to see if we can flex a little bit,” King said. “For example, downtown, maybe opening up part of our streets so that tables can spill out and have a little bit more capacity, given some of the physical distancing guidelines that are coming out.”

DeBone said Deschutes County Commissioners officially submitted their reopening plan to the governor’s office Friday morning. The plan outlines how the county will meet the governor’s standards for testing and contact tracing in order to move forward with phase one of reopening.

DeBone said the commissioners expect it to be approved early next week, which would mean all cities in Deschutes County could begin phase one of reopening by May 15.

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