OREGON COAST — Heading into Memorial Day Weekend, Governor Kate Brown and 26 Oregon mayors are asking Oregonians to stay home to mitigate the spread of Covid-19. They say the sacrifices and efforts we’ve already made are at risk if we treat this as a normal holiday weekend.
Part of the letter says, “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.”
“It is the business on the Oregon coast. Tourism is the business down here, so you can’t keep it closed forever,” Dan Murphy, Brookings Inn Resort General Manager, said.
This holiday weekend usually brings floods of visitors to the beach communities and a boost to local economies. With the coast so quiet in recent weeks, not all coastal businesses are asking people to stay away.
“I am at the point now where I am more worried about the mental and financial health of people,” Karl Popoff, Mayor of Gold Beach, said.
Several coastal communities announced hotels could open up to 100% capacity. Shortly after the announcement phone calls came pouring in.
“We just got hit with reservations like crazy and we are already full on Saturday and we’re going to be full tonight,” Murphy said.
Murphy says they’re ready and prepared to welcome visitors.
“It’s pretty easy to socially distance yourself on our beaches,” Murphy said.
Some state parks are still closed, but he says the beaches have been empty too long.
“People can expect to come to the coast and have a little different experience than they normally do, but probably be able to do most of the stuff they normally do,” Murphy said.
Only time will tell what tourism looks like for the rest of the summer.
“The $54,000 question here is, is the rest of the summer. Are people going to be hesitant because of the virus or are people going to be so stir crazy that they need to get out and just from what, you know, I’ve been dealing with not he phone for the last month, I would say people are just ready to get out and go and do something,” Murphy said
Hotels say they are taking extra precautions by minimizing the amount of people in the lobby, extra sanitation, and even a clean pen jar and dirty pen jar at check-in. Hotel pools are also closed.
Anna Weeks is a multimedia journalist for NBC5 News. She graduated Summa Cum Laude from Oregon State University with a degree in Digital Communication Arts and a minor in writing. Previously, she interned with the National Association of Broadcasters at the NAB Show in Las Vegas.
Originally from the Portland area, Anna is excited to explore Southern Oregon. In her free time, she can be found reading, running or watching sports.