BEND, Ore. (KTVZ) -- The cities of Bend and Redmond, in collaboration with the Bend Chamber and the Redmond Chamber, hosted five listening sessions with focus groups from various business sectors over the past week to gather feedback that could help inform the Deschutes County and state of Oregon on reopening plans.
“We wanted to hear from the experts – the business owners themselves – what they needed from their local governments to help them prepare for reopening their businesses as the state moves forward with a reopening plan,” said Bend Economic Development Director Carolyn Eagan.
“Feedback from the listening sessions is being shared with the County and State,” said Chuck Arnold, city of Redmond economic development manager. “Our goal is to build local plans on how to reopen, so we are ready when the state provides guidance for reopening.”
Initial feedback from Deschutes County commissioners has been positive, as they want to support businesses across the County.
The purpose of the focus group listening sessions, with representatives from retail, restaurants, personal services, health care and childcare businesses, was to: share the Governor’s Reopen Oregon Plan; listen to what business owners need from local authorities to reopen; and allow business owners to share information with each other.
The cities said they will remain in alignment with the governor’s plans, but will "continue to collaborate to support businesses and employees with a localized community comeback plan."
Specifically, the cities said, businesses said a safe reopening should include:
- Clear guidelines
- Time between issuance of new guidelines and date for reopen to reconfigure physical space, bring employees back and train, and order inventory
- Child care availability, so their employees can to return to work
- Community confidence restored, with a clear message on new behaviors
- Education and enforcement support from local governments
“Business owners are committed to the safety of their customers and employees in order to keep public health a top priority when considering reopening protocols and procedures,” said Katy Brooks, CEO of the Bend Chamber of Commerce. “These protocols will help those who are ready to get back out there feel comfortable doing it.”