On Friday, May 8, Mayors Sally Russell and George Endicott discussed their cities’ roles in helping re-open the Central Oregon economy under a framework plan developed by Deschutes County. That plan was submitted to the Governor’s Office for review late this week. Deschutes County Commissioner Tony Debone joined the Mayors’ weekly media availability event to overview the county’s plan.
Oregon Governor Kate Brown recently released guidelines for counties to follow as they pursue re-opening strategies. Guidelines are driven by specific health related prerequisites including:
- Show a decline in COVID-19 or have fewer than five hospitalizations
- Have sufficient COVID-19 testing and contact tracing capability
- Establish plans for the isolation and quarantine of new cases
- Have the hospital capacity to handle any surge in COVID-19 cases
- Have enough personal protective equipment for health care workers
“Mayor Russell and I are serving as conduits between the local communities, and the government entities to re-open our cities. This input is informed by local residents and businesses who are feeling the impact of this economic crisis the most. We want to thank Deschutes County for completing the plan,” said Redmond Mayor George Endicott.
“With approval from the Governor’s Office, Bend and all cities in Deschutes County could begin to carefully reopen under Phase One guidelines as soon as May 15. We are eager to safely re-open and to bring commerce back to our economy,” said Bend Mayor Sally Russell.
The cities and Deschutes County are continuing to adapt how they assist businesses and residents. With the latest announcement and in preparation for a re-opening, they are:
- Working with Chambers and business groups to support Phase One businesses as they re-open.
- Producing information to help customers, consumers and employees get back to work and to re-enter the economy in alignment with the guidance of medical professionals.
- Creating signage and other materials that inform and educate residents about what the new business as usual means.
“Re-opening Bend won’t happen overnight. We anticipate a gradual, phased approach as we return to normal operations, which will begin as soon as the County’s plan is approved by the state,” said Bend City Manager Eric King.
Gov. Brown has indicated that rural counties with low infection rates could begin re-opening by May 15, dependent on health and science data.
“The groundwork has been laid for our community’s comeback, and right now our goal is to focus on maintaining a healthy community until the time to re-open comes,” said King.