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Bars open, schools closed: Officials’ comments frustrate bar owner

(Update: Adding response from Bend bar owner)

BEND, Ore (KTVZ) -- At a Bend-La Pine School Board meeting Tuesday night, some comments drew attention when a slide graphic from the Texas Medical Association depicted bars being a highest-risk COVID-19 activity.

School board member Caroline Skidmore pointed the slide out and said something echoed by some parents and others in the community of late: "I just want to point out that our bars continue to be open while our schools continue to be closed."

Dr. George Conway, Deschutes County Health Services director, showed the slide being discussed. He responded to Skidmore, saying he personally doesn't think it makes any sense to have bars open while schools are closed.

"The reason it doesn't make sense, just to be more granular about it, is that we know that a lot of the mixing of the young adults that we're seeing are in bar settings and other social settings," Conway said.

Skidmore responded: "I just want to kind of go on the record for just saying how much it bothers me that our kids are really kind of taking the brunt of this."

A Bend bar owner weighed in on the issue Wednesday with NewsChannel 21.

Kelly Davidson, the owner of Irish pub Kelly D's in Bend, expressed frustration with the comments, saying that he’s been working hard to maintain safety for customers and workers.

 "I mean, it's hurtful," he said. "You know, we like to think we know what we're doing were following all of the guidelines. To have us piled on, I don’t think it’s fair."

Kelly said he believes restaurants and bars are being portrayed unfairly.

“Everything is social distanced," he said. "We’re following all of the protocols and feel like were doing a really good job, as are most of the bars and restaurants in our area."

Bend / Central Oregon / Education / News / Top Stories
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Blake Allen

Blake Allen is a multimedia journalist for NewsChannel 21. Learn more about Blake here.



    1. Well who do you think you are you? Sound like a Narcissistic liberal. Bend, aka little Portland-Cali is so full of people like you its nothing but a pit anymore. And for your information I was born in Bend in the 50’s.

    2. All the fear mongering about the flu combined with unbridled rioting sums up the ingenious plan of Democrats to drag Griftin’ Joe’s carcass across the finish line. Didn’t you see he’s ahead 14 points… it’s working ✊🏿

      1. It’s amazing how much I have to explain to you people. The point was, nobody goes to or wants to go to Prineville. If Bend did not have a bar on every corner, nobody would want to come here either. Does that make it easier for you to understand?

    3. Funny that you should bring up Prineville- the small town in Crook County that seems to be a thorn in the liberal lefts backside ! Not only did the good citizens chase off BLM and Antifa thugs- but they were the first in the state to open their schools. Having said that- citizens of P’ville best be on their guard… It’s not in the best interest of the dictator in Salem to have these small town hicks thumbing their collective noses at her authority… I see now where Prineville businesses are being denied legitimate Grant requests by the “ladies” running the Central Oregon Health Council. According to their “Grant approval records”- Women owned LLC’s in Bend have been approved… nothing out in Crook though- even though those citizens continue to set the standard of excellence.

  1. Bars make the state money. Schools cost the state money. The teachers’ unions like that teachers don’t have to teach. Public schools are not about “the children.” It is a jobs program with a side effect of indoctrinating children. Hopefully lots of parents are waking up.

        1. Average starting salary for a teacher in Oregon is under $40k/yr. Tell me with sincerity that education is NOT one of the most important factors for a successful society. Teachers lay the ground work for more scientists, astronauts, engineers, social workers and even customer service specialists. How is it that teachers aren’t seen as THE MOST important people in our communities? We trust them with our children not only to care for them, but improve their minds and bodies. Maybe if you went to school, you’d know that.

          1. Nice little rant, but it was nothing more than that. “We trust them with our children not only to care for them, but improve their minds and bodies” you say… but these same teachers you dote on can’t even convince the little brats to STAY in school or make it interesting enough for them to WANT to stay in school. It’s pathetic that your kind clamors on about the teachers being there for the kids…. but funny how they don’t wanna do it unless they make a an insane amount of money, and backed by a union

              1. Once again- Neurotic gets caught in his own zipper ! OK- so “good teachers are vital”… but they’re not allowed to work under Brown’s executive orders !!! Am I missing something here ??? Is Neurotic demanding that schools be immediately opened- in defiance of the Governor’s heavy handed mandates ??? Now that would be a first !

            1. A good teacher can generate billions of dollars in GDP more than a bad one. So, sure, lets just pay them the bare minimum possible. Because we all know that you get what you don’t pay for.

      1. You are 100% correct. People do not realize that we met the metrics for k-3 to return in september. For some reason people forget that sisters is in Deschutes county and they went back. The reason Bend and Redmond did NOT return in September is because the teachers threatened to walk out. I have first hand knowledge of this

        Once you are in school the metrics change. That is why sisters does not have to shut down

  2. But are bars here really “open”, like they are in Texas? In Texas it’s unrestricted. Here it’s fewer tables, distancing, masks if you’re not sitting at your table, no bar seating unless you’re facing a wall, etc.

  3. Most other countries and states have already opened their schools, why keep our children away and degrade their education?
    Thanks to kate brown and the failed democratic leadership of this once beautiful state. Riots, looting, murder is allowed but our kids must stay out of school. Bravo!

      1. PERS reform has to come before more money is thrown at the problem, but that really has nothing to do with children being used as political pawns in blue states. If anything, schools should have a budget surplus in the current climate in Oregon.

      1. Schools not mandatory?! Well, I guess if you want a town and state full of uneducated slack jawed yokels that think like you, I guess you are right. We can just have all the kids that grow up uneducated hang out at bars together while sucking off unemployment and welfare.

    1. neither are fast food joints or some surgery’s or.. coffee shops.. or mom and pop small businesses or restaurants or convenience stores or bowling allys or gyms. .. why not shut all those down again? .. we can all just go to grocery stores and cook our own food.. all those businesses can close down for good and new people will automatically come in and open new businesses to fill the huge void we have right? or.. better yet. our government will bail all of us out…. yeah thats what will happen the U.s. has enough money trees.. thankfully money grows on trees.. pretty awesome..

      1. Yes havent you listened to president kgb lately? Our economy is the best its ever been in history, of course we can afford to save 200000 lives, its what jesus would do too

        1. While I will agree that we can not continue to hand out “free” money from any government – if you were actually part of the economy you would understand that he is correct – it is the best it has been in decades, even with the artificial plandemic.

  4. So Skidmore, should we shut down the bars and gyms? Is that your point? Maybe, just maybe someone should infirm the teachers and our esteemed school board that the death rate is just about 0% unless you have one of the vert few pre existing conditions. When President Harris signals the “all clear” what the hell will they do? They surely won’t hide, they gleefully go back to work. Pretty much every business (other than education) are open and succeeding.

    1. re:calimike.. exactly agreed.. someone needs to tell the state board of education that.. they are the ones controlling our schools opening or not.. they and the health departments.

        1. But Governor Brown has stated that the recent flare-ups are due to “house gatherings” ! Nobody is sure how she came to that conclusion… but I would suggest that the evidence is clear that “businesses” are not doing enough- And neither is the Governor- who has put the vast majority of her failed response in one basket…. “Lock-down” ! This strategy has clearly failed- Oregon “new case numbers” remain three times what they were in April and May. Additional steps that need to be taken immediately- whatever happened to gloves ? Where are the new OSHA updated guidelines for businesses ?? Where is the financial support for upgrading ventilation systems- cleaning programs ??? These are no-brainers in successful countries- Oregon continues to spin like a styro-foam cup in a toilet bowl !

        2. “killing so many” ???……… There have been more deaths in Central Oregon in auto accidents than have died from Covid/Corona conditions- being with or without underlying conditions ! Do you whistle past the parking lots ?

  5. A lack of leadership combined with inconsistent messaging has led to individual states needing to pick up the slack. Our federal government was prepared for an outbreak like this (remember Ebola?) but squandered the resources. Rightfully upset citizens and business owners left to fend for themselves led to poor decisions by state officials to prioritize bars and restaurants (where people gather, maskless, to spread a highly contagious virus) instead of public health and education.
    Denying facts, science and spreading misinformation has cost the lives of over 215,000 Americans.

    1. Complete misguided nonsense ! Governor Brown got everything she demanded from the Feds- she ended up giving most of the stuff away like ventilators- the same with Washington- who built a military scale emergency hospital at the UofW stadium- only to tear it down days later ! Hell- even you got a stimulus check from the President- and now Pelosi is trying to make damn sure you don’t get another ! Your “lack of leadership” charges are way off target- which is spelled B-R-O-W-N ! In spite of CDC recommendations- she keeps schools closed- the WHO says lock-downs are doing more damage than good- Yet Brown digs her girly heels in- wobbling around on her stilettos while adjusting her pants-suit…. Yuk !

  6. why are schools virtual? to protect not only the children, but teachers and parents.

    look at the states that opened? like georgia – spikes in COVID cases, students required to test and quarantine – and we’re talking LARGE numbers! in one county in georgia, 6 days into the school year over 800 students were forced to test and quarantine for 14 days.

    it’s not getting better.

    there are high risk kids, high risk teachers, high risk parents – everyone is at risk. so why force kids back into enclosed spaces, densely populated and no way the schools can ensure mask wearing and distancing. schools are already nasty dirty as well where flu every year runs rampant. they simply cannot keep them as clean as they would need to without adding hundreds more janitorial staff.

    the virtual school is going well this year vs. spring, so why force it?

    and i’m surprised to see a board member voice this. kind of shocking and selfish. and no one forces anyone to go to a bar, for goodness sake! idiots who would go to a bar now – well, it’s their choice. but if you reopen schools prematurely in the midst of a spike in cases and deaths, you would be forcing YOUR preference on teachers and parents.

    1. Well you just stay in your little cozy bubble and let the rest of us go on with returning somewhat back to normal. Oh also, nobody forcing the school staff to go back, the majority of them want to go back!

    2. This is a completely bogus information you posted here. It has been proven that opening/closing schools have absolutely zero effect on the COVID spread. Yes, lets destroy the young and healthy so the elders can stroll around, makes sense to the insane.

    3. Can’t argue with any “spikes in COVID cases” because I don’t know anyone in Georgia and can’t verify either way – which is another way of saying that the story can say anything it wants for us to swallow. But the real question – “In all of those cases is anyone sick or just testing positive” – the rest of the story if any/many were actually passing away we would have heard that all over the media.

  7. Enough with the fear mongering. If you’re afraid, stay home. Let the rest of us get on with our lives. Your fear should not imprison my family. Its unfortunate you are so afraid, but I’d personally rather die than live in fear. Stop listening to the weak!

    1. “If you’re afraid, stay home.” Right, except for all the parents afraid for their kids.. screw them, you want the Gubment to force them to all send their kids back to school no matter what, even though the country has the highest per-capita infection rate of any 1st world country because dorks like you wont wear a mask. So which is it… stay home if you’re afraid, or force parents to send their kids away from their home even though their afraid?

      1. The data is in- has been for those who wish to educate themselves- Oregon’s EPI curve for hospital emergency room visits has stagnated for months ! There is no surge in fatalities either- and even if there was- Oregon currently has 787 ventilators just sitting around after Guv Brown went hysterics on the US President and demanded more- and more !…………………………..

  8. EVERY single study has shown that schools being open is a non-issue when it comes to overall transmission rate of COVID. EVERY single health organization says schools should open. The CDC/WHO say that schools should not close. Tons of doctors say that schools need to be open. GET A CLUE.

    1. That’s not quite what the CDC is saying right now. The CDC recommends pretty rigorous testing regimens for schools to be open. Only 7%of the schools surveyed are planning for that and frankly the federal government has failed to provide the testing we need.

    2. Any facts/links to backup your claim??? For the mental health of the general adult with children, by all means put them back to school. For the HEALTH of Grandma and Grandpa and those with health issues (Pre-existing conditions), online school is the way to go for the time being.
      Schools have ALWAYS been a cesspool of germs brought home and spread around…unfortunately this virus is a bit more virulent than others we have encountered.

  9. If you can go to a bar and play video poker my kid should be able to go to school, end of story. The curve is flattened. Hospital not overwhelmed….remember that’s what they told us initially? The numbers for Deschutes County do not add up for no in school. 13 deaths out of 200,000 eight of which were from a nursing home. Anyone got that percentage for me? What are the positive percentages for Deschutes county? Shut down schools???? We are being held hostage. If kids can’t go to school shut every bar and local restaurant.

    1. Idiot republicans go to bars and hang out playing video poker, and that’s their CHOICE to be stupid and drunk while they lose the rent while playing a video game. Kids being forced to go to school even though it’s possible to stay home and not catch a virus that they could take home to Grandma and kill her is not a choice, it’s a terrible situation for everyone involved. See the difference? Also, I hope to Buddha I never go to St Charles and have you as a nurse, you sound like you have no compassion for people.

      1. How typical of a religion-hating liberal that uses a screen name of a guy played by a pedophile to worship a fat bellied, stoned out of his gourd looking, religious leader

        Good job Soze….it looks good on ya

  10. that aint gonna be till 2022 jx and john is right schools being closed here isnt warranted for 13 deaths or what have you. Brown sees deschutes numbers being like 1000 cases and red light goes off like that mom character on south park who screams wont someone think of the children. If her side doesnt win on election day then good chance out of protest blue states will lockdown again out of protest, i can see beetlejuice in chicago ordering it and the 2 buffoons in new york. We’ve heard Brown come out and say she supports what wheeler does in portland.

    1. The political commentary aside, it’s absolutely clear that Oregon has (proportionally) suffered far fewer deaths than our neighboring states and the country as a whole. In pointing to the relatively small number of deaths as the justification for ending Brown’s policies, do you assume those policies have made no contribution toward our relative success, or do you just not care that we would have already lost *thousands* of additional Oregonians if we had the kind of death rates that, e.g., Texas, Arizona, or Florida have suffered?

      1. “it’s absolutely clear that Oregon has (proportionally) suffered far fewer deaths than”

        Thirteen states have fewer total fatalities than Oregon. The OHA data clearly shows that emergency room visits (EPI) flat-lined in March- supporting the CDC’s claims that this China virus is “mild”. The only surge the state has seen occurred “after” Brown’s Executive Orders to lock-down the state- when the number of daily cases shot well above 300 after leveling off at under 100 in spring…. How is that possible ? Answer…. It’s possible because the only thing Brown has done is change the definitions and parameters associated with the China virus ! She changed ILI to CLI- thus encompassing “any and all” influenza like illnesses into one. She then agreed to accept that deaths “with” covid- equaled death “by” covid ! There’s your hoax partner ! On a global scale- the China virus is no more catastrophic than malaria- a regional annoyance at best ! The CDC and WHO both agree- school and societal lock-downs are more hazardous to the nation than this “mild” virus ! Now get back under yer bed- the sun is out- and you just might see your shadow !

        1. “Thirteen states have fewer total fatalities than Oregon.”
          Even if your “13” is true, this is a nice illustration of your shameless deceptive tactics. *Proportionately*, only five states have lower COVID19 death rates. But why would we consider population size, right?
          The rest of it is just deflection. What a surprise. We know you want to blame her for every ill, so it’s comical to see how much you’ll twist things to avoid letting her have credit for any positives.

  11. We need to keep our businesses open and working because the owners AND the workers have no other way to support themselves, versus a salaried school system staff (whatever position) who is getting their salary anyway.

  12. I think Ms Skidmore’s point is that our approach to combatting the virus is incoherent. Unfortunately all options vis a vis the virus have negative consequences for someone, and there are still lots of unknowns about how the virus works. To make matters more complicated, different regions of the country have very different circumstances. Different regions of our state have very different circumstances, and it doesn’t make sense to address all areas with the same policies.
    That said, leadership starts at the top, and the current administration is AWOL. Governors expect direction from the feds- the feds have all the scientists and research capacity to develop policies that make sense. The lack of leadership at the national level forces governors (mayors, city councils, school boards) to try and make policy without support, and they are generally ill-equipped to do that.
    I think we can all agree that this virus is a bummer! I hate wearing a mask, and I hate having my kid home doing school. But that’s where we are without clear, consistent and logical driven leadership. Screwed!

  13. For those who want the science, here are 3 links below. They all point to reopening the schools…

    From the CDC website: “The Importance of Reopening America’s Schools this Fall”

    From the National Academies of Science, Engineering and Medicine: “Schools Should Prioritize Reopening in Fall 2020, Especially for Grades K-5, While Weighing Risks and Benefits”

    From “Cumulative rate of laboratory-confirmed COVID-19-associated hospitalizations in the United States as of September 26, 2020, by age group”. It shows hospitalization rate for the 5-17yr age group to be 0.01%.

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