By Kiera Morgan:
The question has been asked how we discourage tourism in a tourism town? The cities in Lincoln County rely on tourism, especially spring break, to kick off the season after a long winter. It is an opportunity for employers to give more hours to their employees and get a much needed economic boost. It is important for our small businesses, our restaurants and our attractions. Right now with the coronavirus however people are being asked to stay home.
The chambers of commerce throughout the county have been contacted by people who are planning to come to the coast, or are already here and are asking what there is to do as many things, such as the Aquarium are closed down. They are closed for a reason, to protect their employees and customers from the Covid 19 virus. Many citizens throughout Lincoln County have been diligent in following the Governor's and local governments requests to stay home and only go out when needed.
Many local events that help raise money for the chambers and other fundraisers or events have been cancelled. The Lincoln City Chamber announced the cancellation of their Oregon Coast Garage Sale, Depoe Bay has cancelled their crab feed and wooden boat show fundraiser, the Newport chamber has cancelled their Banquet and Balloon auction. Local libraries, recreations centers, pools and city halls are closed. The Coast To Valley bus has been suspended for now. Lincoln County parks is not accepting camping reservations. Oregon State Parks are closing the day use parks as of Monday and camping at State and Federal Parks are also closed.
However if you have been out in Lincoln County you may have noticed that there are several cars from out of state. There are lines at the coffee drive ups with people from out of the area, the parking lots at the stores are full and checkers report many from out of town. There are many who have reported on social media that they cancelled their plans for going to a theme park because of closures, but feel it is ok to be outside and come to the beach.
The City of Lincoln City is taking the following steps in its continuing effort to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 virus and provide relief to individuals and families affected by the closures of businesses. 1. Effective Monday, March 23, 2020 City Hall will close to the public. The Library and Community Center closed last week and will remain closed. Utility bills can be paid on line. 2. Effective Monday, March 23, 2020 all City parks and open spaces, including bathrooms, will be closed to the public.
The City of Lincoln City is contributing to the Lincoln County voucher program to aid unsheltered individuals. The City’s Finders Keepers program is suspended until further notice. The city continues to encourage individuals, families, households and businesses to follow good hygiene practices, social distancing and other directives issued by the State and other medical professionals.
In response to the continued influx of visitors the Astoria City Council passed a resolution today at an Emergency Meeting prohibiting vacation and leisure travelers from staying in hotels and short term lodging rentals during the state of emergency. The city of Seaside has ordered their hotels to also shut down. Lincoln County Commission Board Chair Kaety Jacobson, said "many of our businesses have already sacrificed greatly to help flatten the curve of the spread of the disease to keep Oregonians safe."
"Our local community has also, to a large degree, acted upon Governor Brown’s Stay Home to Stay Healthy directive. Unfortunately, we have had many visitors show up on the Oregon Coast and in Lincoln County contrary to this directive and to the advice from public health authorities. This puts our communities, our citizens, and our limited resources at
great risk. We are asking those who have plans to visit the coast, to please postpone those plans until after this crisis is over, we will welcome your business then. To those visitors that are already here, please return home!"
Lincoln County is convening a joint meeting scheduled tomorrow (3/23) with Lincoln County and its Cities to discuss and take coordinated action across Lincoln county to address this risk. This is an extremely difficult time that has forced all of us to make changes in our way of life and to sacrifice greatly to reduce the spread of this virus.
As Commissioner Hunt said in our last Board of Commissioners meeting, “there are no good choices, only good decisions.” We will continue to keep you updated on what is happening throughout Lincoln County. We encourage citizens to remain safe, only go out if you need to to get something from the store, wash your hands, avoid touching your face. Citizens are encouraged to spend time with family, get out and go for a walk in your neighborhood, and continue with social distancing. Together we can help keep our county virus free.