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Bend urges tourists to stay away, says it could ban ‘non-essential travel’

Visit Bend stay home 327
Visit Bend
Visit Bend is urging people to stay home, come visit later

Ban is an option, if problem persists or gets worse

BEND, Ore. (KTVZ) -- The city of Bend, like most, has issued an emergency declaration due to COVID-19. But on Friday, as it discouraged tourists from coming, the city also said it might ban all "non-essential travel" if too many people -- residents or visitors -- don't comply, and the problem worsens.

Here's the city's news release on the matter, in full:

With Bend being a significant destination for tourism and vacation travel, Bend City Manager Eric King is issuing a strong advisory temporarily discouraging recreational or vacation travel here during this COVID-19 emergency.

Here is a link to the order. It supports Governor Brown’s “Stay Home, Save Lives” orders to minimize non-essential travel to reduce exposure to and spread of COVID-19, novel coronavirus.

Many would-be travelers already canceled plans for this spring break period. The order discourages all stays in Bend hotels, motels, inns, bed and breakfasts, RV parks, short-term rentals and all other temporary lodging options, unless for reasons of health.

Owners and operators of temporary lodging facilities should not book any new reservations for tourist accommodation, and should only book reservations needed for health, safety, or employment or other permitted essential travel, the city says.

“Our primary focus is to restrict the spread of COVID-19 and to maintain the health of the community,” King said. “Travel between different communities can spread COVID-19, posing a risk to travelers and the communities they visit.

"We are proud of our tourism industry and want to share our amazing city with visitors, but this current state of emergency demands unprecedented measures to protect everyone. We need to pause. Our partners at Visit Bend agree, and have already been responsive to this crisis.”

“Visit Bend has been communicating in all our messaging and social media that now is not the time to visit Bend or anywhere, but to stay safe and stay home,” said Kevney Dugan, CEO and President of Visit Bend. “We’re grateful to the many travelers who’ve been heeding this warning already. When this is all over, Bend will still be here to welcome you with fresh air, mountain sunshine and space to recharge.”

The city's order does not apply to reservations for stays longer than 30 days or residential stays of any length for people without permanent homes who are staying at a lodging facility through a voucher or other program.

The order remains in effect until April 28, unless extended by the city manager.

"If non-essential travel persists or increases, the city could consider other measures prohibiting non-essential travel within the city, including penalties for violation," officials said Friday

Meanwhile, the city noted, the Deschutes National Forest closed its campgrounds through May 8, and has also discouraged travel for recreation. Oregon State Parks are closed, and the Bend Park and Recreation District has closed playgrounds, sports courts, exercise equipment, skateparks and recreational facilities.

Article Topic Follows: Coronavirus

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